Internationally certified home for Table Tennis in Guyana on the horizon
By Akeem Greene
The Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Homestretch Avenue is the main hub for Table Tennis in Guyana, but the facility is also shared by numerous disciplines, which would limit the training time for athletes, and the hosting of big International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) tournaments or programmes.
President of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), Godfrey Munroe, has announced that the association is finalising the proposal to construct a Table Tennis Facility at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue.
The facility will need to have space for 12 tables (eight for competitions and four for practice), along with other amenities to reach ITTF standards.
Questioned by News Room Sport on when the realisation of a permanent home for the sport will happen, Munroe indicated they had engagements with the Government of China through its Embassy in Guyana, and a commitment of assistance has been made.
“They [Government of China] have made a commitment to fund a facility for us once the acquisition of the land is made available and this was conveyed to Minister [Charles] Ramson Jr.,” Munroe explained.
The GTTA head further indicated there was a preliminary meeting with Chargé d’affaires Chen Xilai in which the aforementioned was confirmed and they are currently in the process of “finalising details of architectural designs and estimated costs.”
It is understood the approximate cost is in excess of G$120 million.
Next on the agenda would be a follow-up meeting with the Minister and officials from the Embassy and according to Munroe, the “Minister promised he would be willing to build the base for the facility.”
Munroe strongly believes that such an investment will have significant benefits since there is no high-performance centre in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“If Guyana is able to tap into that, it means ITTF support as a hot spot for equipment, host tournaments, junior circuit which means revenue generation, exposure for athletes and table tennis experts coming to Guyana along with structured tournaments, make it that critical,” he further conveyed.
Guyana Olympic Association President, K.A. Juman-Yassin applauded the Government for its impetus in sport and expressed hope for a home for Table Tennis to come to fruition.
The GOA President underscored the need for the facility to be one with the future in mind and not just a short-term goal.
“I want to caution that don’t try to get a little piece of land and say you are going to put a building there, think about the long-term,” Juman-Yassin stated.
He was referencing the need to have suitable space for parking and other amenities, given the bigger vision would be to host international tournaments.
Guyana has hosted regional table tennis competitions in the past, the majority of which were held at the Sports Hall.
It is understood the proposed model for the new facility is of Olympic standard, which would allow the hosting of world circuit events for Pan-Am, South America and the Caribbean.