Juniors off to Canada
Eight junior players set off for Canada on Tuesday to participate in the Canadian Open Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championship, scheduled for Markham, Toronto, from today to Sunday.
The event follows the Youth Olympic Games Continental Qualification Competition being staged in Mississauga about 30 miles away.
Barbadian juniors Anthonette Riley and Tyrese Knight are already there participating in the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Knight will join the eight for the Canadian Open. Team manager Cherrie Newton Knight is in Canada with the two budding Youth Olympians and coach Trevor Farley.
Participation in the Canadian Open is part of the preparation process for the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) World Cadet Challenge which Barbados will host this October.
“It’s part of a rigorous training programme that we are putting in place,” president of the Barbados Table Tennis Association (BTTA) Ray Jackman told the media on Tuesday.
“It’s essential that they get early exposure, that they see what the standard is really like.
“We’re hoping that once they go there they are excited about what they see, and [knowing] the standard, they’ll come back and train even harder to reach that standard by July or August, so that they are completely ready.
“Hopefully, in August we’ll be in a position that we can also send them to another tournament that is of a very high standard, international in nature, so that we can see how they have progressed,” Jackman said.
“They are going to meet some children who will have similar abilities to the ones who will come here for the tournament,” he added.
The BTTA chief acknowledged that there was a challenge in getting the youngsters to put in the number of hours of training required given the need to balance school and table tennis.
He also noted the limited experience the local coaches have had in preparing players for such a high level of competition. In this regard the BTTA will be trying to access a suitable foreign coach with the relevant international experience.
Jackman added that on the positive side the BTTA was blessed with young players who learn quickly and should respond well to the rigorous training programme that will be in place over the coming months.
“We are going to incorporate technical training and drills. We are going to incorporate tactical training, physical training and we are going to pay a lot of attention to their mental preparation,” he said.
“Table tennis is not only a game of skill but one in which it is necessary to have the ability to think very quickly on your feet and to know how to outsmart the opponent. That is something with which we have to make sure the children are very comfortable,” he said.
Tyrese Knight (already in Canada), Raymon Jackman, Jalani Miller, Ramon Maxwell and Stephen Payne.
Janae Lewis, Marissa Alleyne, Jazel Griffith, Kennady King
Manager: Cherrie Newton Knight (already in Canada)
Coaches: Trevor Farley (already in Canada), Carl Sealy, Clifton Mark