NSC funding for Olympian Chelsea Edghill
Olympian Chelsea Edghill will see the realisation of a request to the National Sports Commission (NSC) for support in June, after it was announced Friday by Director of Sport, Steve Ninvalle, that the Table Tennis player will receive $1M to aid in her preparation for upcoming tournaments.
Edghill, on June 8, along with president of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), Godfrey Munroe, had met with Ninvalle to highlight her plight in the sport and also make a formal request for support from the NSC.
At the time, Edghill had just gotten the news that she will be heading to the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan.
“Chelsea Edghill would’ve presented to us, through the GTTA, a very complete proposal. With that, the proposal would’ve included her training. As a Commission, we felt it was important to support and support her throughout the years, but this ($1M) is just an initial support,” Ninvalle said.
Ninvalle explained that “what we would do, is that we’ll look back after four months, we would see how that training is going and see whether or not we will invest more (money) into Ms Edghill.”
According to the Director of Sport, “it’s not a done deal that this is just the $1M we will be given to Ms Edghill, and we’ll stop there. What we will be doing is looking at her performance during the course of the training.”
Meanwhile, Munroe said the GTTA is happy that the request was honoured, while pointing out “it’s welcoming and it’s commendable that the Ministry and the National Sports Commission is backing its statement with action.”
“We (the GTTA) are happy about this because it shows that we have a partner that we can call on. I know the Director of Sport, being the head of an Association, because he understands the challenges,” Munroe noted.
He further reasoned that “it’s great to see the manifestation and action from our initial meeting, that we’re here receiving the support for Chelsea. They did say that this is just an appetizer, but they will be looking to see how she goes about her training and so on. In our ‘fan out’ meeting a lot of things were discussed.”
Edghill, a former Caribbean Under-21 champion, was one of 86 women in Tokyo vying for Olympic glory and how she got there wasn’t by luck, or winning the table tennis lottery, as some would say, but really through her brilliance over the years.
The IOC’s Tripartite Commission had two slots (one male and one female) to select from among National Olympic Committees that didn’t have more than eight athletes at the two previous Olympic Games in London (2012) and Rio (2016).
The Tripartite Commission selected Togo’s Dodji Fanni and Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill.
The 24-year-old Edghill had a historic showing in Tokyo, where playing in the very first match of the Women’s Singles Tournament, she brushed aside Fiji’s Sally Yee 4-1 (11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8).
On the surface Edghill’s match-winning performance might seem casual given her brilliance in the sport, but in the table tennis world, it represented ‘history’; not just for Guyana, but the Caribbean.
While Edghill became Guyana’s first male or female table tennis player to ever represent the country in the sport at the Olympics, the Linwood University graduate (Chemistry) was also the first female player from the English-speaking Caribbean to feature at the event since it became an Olympic sport in 1988.
After her much-talked-about and celebrated victory over Yee, Edghill’s next opponent was 17-year-old Shin Yubin from South Korea.
Shin Yubin is South Korea’s youngest-ever representative in the sport and against Edghill, the world 85th ranked player showed why she’s one of the best players in the world, winning 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-1, 12-10).
After wrapping up her time at the Olympics, Edghill took what she’s calling “a much-needed break” from the sport to enjoy her vacation in New York.
She is set to return to Guyana this weekend.