Titans Table Tennis Club to focus on youth development in 2018
By Avenash Ramzan
Making a concerted effort to focus on youth development in 2018, the Titans Table Tennis Club will stage the first of three age group tournaments in February.
Based in the Red Cross building on Barrack Street, the club has over the years pride itself on the moulding of young players through an active year-long strategic plan. News Room spoke to two executives, Dwain Dick and Daniel Thomas, who shared their vision for the sport in 2018.
Dubbed the Malta Supreme Junior Invitational, the two-day tournament is set to be played on February 24 and 25. The venue is the Queen’s College auditorium with male and female players battling in several categories.
President of the club, Dwain Dick, said he is optimistic of a very competitive tournament, featuring the top young talents on the local circuit.
“We have several categories, from Under-9 way up to Under-15. We have Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles, both male and female, and all those categories are Open categories so males and females cane be able to play against each other,” Dick explained.
“We expect all the regions to participate. We know that Linden has table tennis playing and recently we saw the national coach going out to several regions so we would expect that those persons would come out. We’re glad that we can afford them the opportunity to come out and measure their progress.”
Dick stated that two other tournaments, catering for Under-15, Under-18, Under-21 and ‘B’ Class, would be played later this year, as interest is very high among the younger players for that competitive experience.
“Most of the players are very enthusiastic (to play) right now because of the lack of tournament last year, the inactivity and so on, so most of the players are hyped up,” Dick related.
The president further indicated that the tournament, which has been sanctioned by the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), is open to all players who fit the age categories, adding that there will be no limit on the number of entries per category.
Registration closes at 09:00h on the morning of the tournament, February 24, but pre-registration can be done by contacting Dick on 642-3288 or Secretary Daniel Thomas on 624-7742.
Thomas endorsed Dick’s statement that the club is placing increased emphasis on its youth arm in 2018.
“For us as a club- as I’ve told Dwain since I got involved because my daughter plays under his tutelage- it is important that we look at the youth arm of the club because there is where you’re going to have the next generation of players. We decided since last year after we see the inactivity of the GTTA level in terms of tournaments that we make a concerted effort to host as many tournaments as possible,” Thomas indicated.
He indicated that for the first half of 2018 the club will focus on its junior players, with two other competitions in March and June to complement the February event.
The National Gymnasium and Cliff Anderson Sports Hall are the usual venues for table tennis, but the club has opted for the use of a school facility.
“We looked around the landscape and the Sports Hall and Gymnasium we’ve always had issues in terms of rental and the high cost of rental, so we had to look at alternative venues. We approached Queen’s College through their alumni and board and we’ve gotten approval to use the venue for two tournaments,” Thomas highlighted.
He added, “We’re overwhelmed by the response. We also approached Banks DIH and they’ve agreed to exclusively sponsor the first competition. We’ve also approached some other sponsors for the second and third and we expect the feedback to be as positive as Banks was.”
The three junior tournaments apart, the club will also stage its signature competition- the Gold Cup- later this year.