05 Jan 2017

Jamaica's Michael Hyatt (46) has retired from international table tennis following an announcement in December 2016. Hyatt's involvement in table tennis will continue, however, with a role as marketing agent for the Jamaican Table Tennis Association in an attempt to further the country's progress on the world stage.

by Simon Daish

Former national champion Michael Hyatt stated in an interview with The Gleaner that it is his belief that his retirement from the sport is for Jamaica’s benefit moving forward, making way for the next generation of table tennis players and that it’s time to focus his attention elsewhere.

“It is unusual in any sport for any athlete to play well into their forties. I was very fortunate to play until I was 45, at a high level. But I didn’t stop playing because I wasn’t good enough, but I felt I had other things in the corporate world I wanted to focus on more, and family. Life changes, and you have different motivations… I felt the time was right. There are some players behind me that just need experience and exposure, and they are definitely capable; they just need help … and the exposure and the opportunity.” –  Michael Hyatt.

Alongside having won the Jamaican National Championships on four occasions Michael Hyatt competed at the 1989 and 1995 World Team Championships in Dortmund and Tianjin respectively, and became Caribbean champion in 1996.

Michael Hyatt also made appearances at two Olympic Games, claiming one of his greatest career victories at Barcelona 1992 when he defeated Canada’s Gideon Joe Ng in the Men’s Singles Qualifying Group stage before going on to participate at Atlanta 1996 four years later.

Heading into his new position as marketing agent Hyatt is feeling confident about the future of Jamaican table tennis, but admits that there are difficulties to overcome if his hopes are to be met.

“If I wasn’t confident in this administration and what they are doing, they can tell you, I wouldn’t be here. I, unfortunately, don’t have time to waste. I am very impressed with their communication and their planning. Mr Lothian and his team understand what they are doing…

… Our biggest issue is how we execute with zero budget. It’s just difficult to implement anything when you don’t have resources. So if I can help them execute a little better, and after a time get more sponsors confident that we are a good product to invest in, then we can get more plans executed. I have a lot of experience in business and in this sport, so I can help from a sporting administrative perspective on how to approach sponsors. This is something I have done on my own for the last ten years and I am very good at it and I want to help this particular association get that.” – Michael Hyatt.

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