By Elroy Stephney
FORMER National Youth cricketer Nathan Persaud has embarked on a new sporting journey. The dapper multi-talented sportsman still enjoys huge success with the bat on the local scene, yet he is relishing his new role.
According to Persaud, “Table tennis is just another ball game which I am very good at.” he said. His passion for the game has now taken on new dimensions as he provides his expertise as a coach to young and aspiring racquet-wielders.
He now holds regular sessions at the Anna Regina Secondary School’s auditorium and within communities where there are facilities. Persaud, who resides in Bush Lot is himself the recipient of many awards for his successes in competions in Essequibo and Georgetown.
As a result of his keen interest in the game, he was elected as a member of the recently-formed Essequibo Table Tennis Sub-Association with support from the Department of Sport in Region Two.
In fact, the Department was also instrumental in having national coach Linden Johnson visit Essequibo to conduct coaching clinics in several schools and communities.
The way was then paved for Persaud to continue providing technical support during his sojourn among school and club players. He also enhanced his credentials by successfully completing the foundation course conducted by the National Sports Commission.
Though it has been a demanding task, it is being done voluntarily. “I am proud to be sharing my knowledge especially with students of Anna Regina Secondary which is my alma mater,” he disclosed.
Table-Tennis has not been among the popular sports being practised in Essequibo despite a heightened awareness to decentralise the game, especially in rural areas.
The challenge, though, is to have persons being readily accessible to more equipment including tables and racquets which are primarily only available in schools. Persaud has since been collaborating with the Region Two Department to create more opportunities for the underprivileged.
Among his priorities for the immediate future is gathering relevant information towards creating clubs to compete, building partnerships with other stakeholders to promote the sport and continuing his aggressive drive in coaching persons of different age groups.
At the moment, Persaud has been diligently and selflessly advancing his vision to have table tennis become a vibrant and competitive sport in the Region.
His aim also is to produce national players since he is convinced that tremendous talent exists and that players can make the sport a lasting profession.
In the past, Essequibo was known to have had some outstanding racquet-wielders including Ravindra Maniram, Nayeem Mohamed, Samuel Morrison, Dennis Benjamin, Joseph Livan and Persaud to name a few.
He is now continuing to preserve the once rich legacy by creating the opportunity for the next batch of promising players from Essequibo.