GOA makes US$12,000 investment in Edghill’s Olympic preparation


By Akeem Greene

The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) has invested significantly in ensuring national Table Tennis player, Chelsea Edghill, gets the best possible preparation ahead of her maiden Olympic Games this July-August in Tokyo.

Edghill was granted a spot at the Games through the tripartite system, which only has two spots worldwide for table tennis, one male and female.

For the next two months, Edghill will be at the High-Performance Training Centre of Table Tennis (CAR) and Sport Clube de Mirandela, in Portugal, undergoing intense sessions in the build-up to the global showpiece.

The Gaia Table Tennis High-Performance Centre Hall (Photo: CAR Centro de Alto Rendimento)

This announcement was made on Saturday (May 29, 2021) by the GOA at its Liliendaal headquarters.

GOA Vice-President and Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) President, Godfrey Munroe, revealed that the GOA will be funding Edghill’s training at the two centres; physiotherapy and recovery sessions; physical training; supplements; airfare from Guyana to Portugal then to Tokyo and back to Guyana or Portugal; apartment rentals; food; PCR Tests and Personal Protective Equipment.

Guyana Table Tennis Association President, Godfrey Munroe

Munroe said the cost for Edghill’s preparation is in excess of US$12,000 (approximately 2.4 million Guyana Dollars) and it is in the context of what programmes can be sustained from the Olympic Solidarity Fund.

On Friday, the Guyana Lottery Company sponsored Edghill for one year and part of that package caters for her uniforms.

Munroe said he hopes Edghill can leave Guyana by June 6 to commence training. The aforementioned plan of action was done in consultation with her coaches- one of whom is Idi Lewis- Edghill’s parents, and the athlete herself.

Lewis indicated they have worked extremely hard to get to this point, noting that Edghill is a “testament of talent, a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices.”

For the remainder of her time in Guyana, Lewis said they will be simulating the training that will be done in Portugal. That training regime will see her train six to seven hours during the day on multi-ball work, tactics and game simulations, while in the evenings, she will work on strength and conditioning.

National Table Tennis player, Chelsea Edghill

Not giving up

Just a few weeks ago, the 23-year-old detailed how she navigated representing Guyana mainly on the financial support of her parents, and it is a fulfilling achievement to get this level of support when there were thoughts of “giving up” in the past.

“At times when I felt it is the end or I want to give up and it is not worth it, my support is tremendous and they always encourage me to keep going, and every time they support, I achieve greater things,” Edghill expressed.

Edghill, who plays professionally for Lusitania de Lourosa in Portugal, will be going up against the top 82 players in the world at the upcoming Games. She however, wants to leave her mark at the Olympics and this preparation programme will enhance her chances of achieving that goal.

“It is going to give me a good chance to show what I am made of and all the things that I have been working on for so long.”

“The players at the Olympics are the best in the world and for me to be given a chance to compete against them is a great feeling, but also to compete at such a high level and put Guyana on the map and let people know there is table tennis in Guyana because we are underestimated when we go places,” the 2018 Caribbean Under-21 gold medallist related.

GOA President K.A. Juman-Yassin stated that Edghill has moved to a new “threshold” and reminded the player that after the Olympics, there will be the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games, which provide further opportunities to succeed.

Further, it was announced that Chelsea’s mother, Deidre Baynes-Edghill, will be the Chef de mission for Guyana at the Junior Pan American Games, which will be held in Cali, Colombia, between November 25 and December 5.

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