GTTA aiming to have more Chinese influence in Table Tennis development
By Akeem Greene
While Table Tennis had its origin in England, of the current top ten- five male and five female players in the world- seven are from the People’s Republic of China.
A key element in that nation’s success has been elite coaching, and Guyana, bursting with talent, is hoping to tap once more into that reservoir of expertise.
In 2008, Chinese Table Tennis Coach Chang Jian Hua spent one year in Guyana training young talents, most of whom went on to play and reap success at senior regional and international tournaments.
This year will mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between Guyana and China, and as expressed during a recent ceremony to mark the milestone, Table Tennis is one sport that has benefitted significantly over that time.
According to Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) President, Godfrey Munroe, the aim is to strengthen that cooperation and he is hopeful for another stint by a Chinese coach.
“The difficulty now is that the Chinese coaches are in demand, but they [officials from Chinese Embassy] indicated it is not impossible, as they can bring them for shorter stints and even [Chinese] players to come and train with our national players,” Munroe revealed.
Additionally, the GTTA President said they are still steadfast on ensuring a home for the sport is built.
During last year he announced that the association is finalising its proposal to construct a Table Tennis Facility at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue, Georgetown.
The facility will need to have space for 12 tables (eight for competition and four for practice), along with other amenities to reach the International Table Tennis Federation standards.
It would cost over G$100 million, and while the Chinese are committed, given the magnitude of the cost, the GTTA would need to have some assurances from the Sport Ministry, which Munroe expressed confidence will be of no issue.
“Injecting a lot in terms of infrastructure, tables, balls and racquets into schools along with training of coaches and physical education could result into mass participation of the sport and if we could have that facility, we could become the regional centre for Table Tennis in the English-speaking Caribbean which would be tremendous for us in terms of our exponential growth and performance of players,” the GTTA Head further elaborated.
Apart from the aforementioned plans, Munroe also revealed the Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan, is keen on ensuring Guyanese players return to the Hebei Zhengding Table Tennis Training Centre for more camps.
In 2018, Natalie Cummings, Joel Alleyne, Nigel Bryan and Elishaba Johnson spent one month at the facility.