Promising boys, girls in distance
The boys are stronger, but the girls are not too far off.
That was the view of Raul Calin, Representative of the International Table Tennis Federation, at the end of a working visit as the Barbados Table Tennis Association (BTTA) prepares to stage the ITTF World Cadet Challenge here later this year.
Teams for the event for players 15 years and under, will come from six continents and one from the best of the rest of the world will play against a Barbados team. Each team will be made up of eight players – four boys and four girls.
“The preparations are more defined now as five boys and five girls are now in training with a view for team selection for the tournament which will take place from October 23 to November 1 at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium,” Calin noted.
Pointing out that the hand-holding between himself and the local association was good, the international representative said the work of resident Cuban coach Roberto del Castillo was paying off and would be strengthened by the second coming of international coach Ramon Ortega who will be back in Barbados to fine-tune the squad before selection.
“We are concerned with the development and the future of the game and it is a unique opportunity for Barbados, and the children in particular, that they make good use of what is being provided for them. There are some boys who are really talented, but the girls need some work. Both are a work in progress and the coaches are putting in their best in making sure that Barbados, as hosts do well. In everything, hard work pays off,” Calin added.
Local players, he said, will be exposed to the game at its highest level and will have three days of invitation plays against all the teams taking part in the competition as a final sharpening up for the opening of the Challenge.
And it does not end there, the international representative said, as there are plans to set up partnerships for the ongoing development of the sport in Barbados and the Caribbean and urged everyone to come out and support the event, adding that the future looks good for table tennis in Barbados.
Ministry of Sport Stephen Lashley said the tournament was an opportunity to further develop national expertise in the hosting of world-class sporting events, both from a broadcast and a tourism perspective.
According to the minister, this expertise was an essential component of the Sporting Barbados brand being developed, which will further solidify Barbados’ image in the international community.
“Central to our strategy will be the utilisation of facilities such as the gymnasium, Kensington Oval and the National Stadium, which are assets that must be maximised. The ministry recognises the potential of these facilities and will certainly be moving toward optimising their value, as a part of the Barbados brand.
“Ultimately, we will position Barbados as an ideal destination for the hosting of high level sports activities,” he said.