DESPITE the absence of many seasoned players on Guyana’s contingent to the 14th Junior Caribbean Table Tennis Championship in St Kitts, the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) is pleased with the team’s overall performance.
Guyana, being former champions, placed third in the nine-team competition and returned with ten bronze medals and two silver medals. Further, General Secretary of the GTTA Godfrey Munroe said at a press conference yesterday that while school examinations hampered preparations, he thinks that the team was successful.
Winners Row! Successful racquet wielders pose for Sonell Nelson at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall yesterday. The team returned from the 14th Junior Caribbean Table Tennis Championship in St Kitts over the past week.
On the other hand, National Coach Linden Johnson said that racquet wielders’ attitude was positive throughout the tournament. However, their mental and physical toughness started to wane in the final stages of the tournament.
He said that for the most part of the tournament, the Guyanese were in firm control of the strongest Caribbean counterparts Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. But it was the Puerto Ricans, who eventually emerged winners of the tournament, who were their biggest obstacles in most of the events.
He said that the one gold medal that Jamaica won at the tournament made the difference with Guyana when it came to podium position at the end of the tournament. He also stated that the Puerto Rico team held somewhat of an advantage over the other teams because they had the services of a sports psychologist.
He said prior to all the matches, especially in the knockout stages of the tournament, the psychologist prepared the players mentally for their encounter. He stated, in the case of Trenace Lowe and Nigel Bryan, two of Guyana’s strongest medal contenders, lost in the semis and quarterfinals respectively to Puerto Ricans, although they were leading their opponents.
Johnson and his coaching staff of Muniram Prashad and Colin France agreed that the tour was a learning experience for the young squad and they are confident that they will give better accounts of themselves in years to come.
They said that Chelsea Edghill, who is only eleven, placed third in the Under-15 category and that she and many others will only get better as they hone their skills.
Munroe, in closing said that he was proud of his young squad more particularly that rose above their adversities and challenges to make Guyana proud.
He said that the GTTA will be putting strategies in place to adequately prepare them for future tournaments.