Guyana’s Table Tennis teams steadfast on qualifying for Pan Am Games
By Akeem Greene
The senior national Table Tennis teams are expected to be hard-pressed to make the ultimate trip to the Pan American Games, as they try to qualify from the Caribbean Championships, the 61st edition of which will be held in Guyana from March 23 to 31.
The event, set to be held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, serves as a qualifier to the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to August 11. Only the top male and female teams make it to Pan Am Games.
Given the big stakes, the local-based players have been in constant training since January and will come against the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Aruba.
Christopher Franklin, Guyana’s Men champion, headlines a list featuring reigning Caribbean Under-21 champion Shemar Britton, as well as Nigel Bryan and Joel Alleyne.
“Preparation up to this point has been good; we have been putting in a lot of work. I was hoping to get the stint in China, but due to unforeseen circumstances (that didn’t happen), but I still think we can pull it off. We have been training hard; we have the talent, we have skill and we believe anything is possible,” Franklin expressed to News Room Sport on Tuesday.
While the Dominican Republic has become an arch-rival to Guyana, Franklin noted that Puerto Rico could pose an even bigger threat, but whatever is thrown at them, they plan on having answers.
Additionally, Franklin called on the support of the entire Guyana to embrace the tournament which can play its role in encouraging the players to go the full distance.
Likewise, former national champion Trenace Lowe, who is based in the United States of America, is back in Guyana early than expected as she ramps up preparations. Her teammates will be Chelsea Edghill, a Caribbean Under-21 champion, Natalie Cummings and Jody-Ann Blake, while Priscilla Greaves will play in the Under 21 category.
Lowe insisted they are focused on the task at hand: “I think we can do it because we always go close with DR [Dominican Republic], so we have a good chance to qualify. We have to remember our mistakes from the last time.”
She shrugged off the notion of pressure, stating, “I know we can do it; we have been playing for so long so we know about pressure.”
Due to being hosts, Guyana will get to field four additional players in men and women to play Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. According to President Godfrey Munroe, those players will come from Colin France, Brandon Belle, Elishaba Johnson and Orin Hickerson.
Munroe further explained that Guyana can field additional Under-21 players, and those will come from Johnathan Van Lange and Kaysan Ninvalle.
Play should be three sessions daily: 09:00h – 12:00h; 13:00h – 15:30h and 18:00- 20:00h. The Pan Am trails commence on Sunday, March 24 and conclude on Monday, March 25, after which the Caribbean Championship commences.
The championship will also be a qualification event for the Pan American Cup in Paraguay in September where three male teams and three female teams will qualify; the Pan Am Cup is the qualification for the World Team championships.