…Table tennis star not bowing to pressure of Olympic Games
CHELSEA Edghill arrived in Tokyo, Japan as Guyana’s first-ever table tennis representative at an Olympic Games. She is set for action on July 24, one day after the opening, in the women’s singles event. She has been a high-achiever throughout her illustrious career ever since she picked up a racquet as a nine-year-old.
However, her success and steady climb in the sport led to high expectations of many fans and pundits of table tennis, particularly in Guyana.
Edghill is one of 86 women in Tokyo vying for Olympic glory and how she got there isn’t by luck, or winning the table tennis lottery, as some would say, but really through her brilliance over the years. Along with Natalie Cummings, Shemar Britton and Joel Alleyne, Edghill competed at the Latin American Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification tournament from April 13 to 17 in Rosario, Argentina.
In Argentina, Edghill reached the tournament’s Round-of-16 but she was stopped by Guatemalan Mabelyn Enrique 4-2. She was devastated and had already shifted her attention to qualifying for the 2024 Parris Games and the World Championships.
However, as fate would have it, the Tripartite Commission had two slots (one male and one female) to select from among National Olympic Committees that didn’t have more than eight athletes at the two previous Olympic Games in London (2012) and Rio (2016).
The Tripartite Commission selected Togo’s Dodji Fanni and Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill.
“The feeling is unreal,” Edghill had told Chronicle Sport in an exclusive interview on May 22.
Since then, coupled with her already rise in the sport, expectation has been high for the 2014 Youth Olympic.
“The expectations of others aren’t mine. Therefore, everyone is allowed their own expectations but it doesn’t concern me at all,” Edghill said in a live interview with Sports Journalist Rawle Toney via her Facebook page.
“Granted, yes, I would love to please everybody in terms of my expectations. But in terms of what I came here (in Japan) to do and what my goals are, you know, if those don’t align with your expectations, then all I can say is ‘sorry’,” Edghill said.
The usually candid table tennis player, who never backs down from ‘keeping it real’, added, “If I were to really look, listen and take-on everybody’s expectations, then that would place an immense amount of pressure that is unnecessary on me to perform at the games and that’s counterproductive.”
Edghill said she will remain “focussed on what it is I can control and the expectations of myself and the goals that I’ve set for the tournament and the games.”
The 2018 Caribbean U-21 Champion who also holds a BSc in Chemistry, having graduated in 2019 from Lindenwood University in the USA, plays professionally in Portugal with Lusitania de Lourosa; a table tennis club located in the city of Lourosa in Santa Maria da Feira.