National Under 15 And Under 18 Table Tennis Squad Scheduled For Caribbean Tournament In Cuba

 – Funding of one million needed to cover all qualified players

Kingston March 21, 2018) A national squad will represent Jamaica in the upcoming CRTTF Cadet & Junior Table Tennis Championship which will be held in Havana, Cuba during April 2-7, 2018. The event is being hosted by the Cuban Table Tennis Federation.

Set to leave the island on Friday, March 30, the team of 16 players will compete in the Under 15 and Under 18 categories against countries including Guyana, Cuba, Barbados and The Dominican Republic.

The players are: Azizi Johnson, Malique Rose, Jordan Campbell, Ainsley Dehaney, Kimoy McEwan, Derrick Francis, Ricardo Hall, Alessio Tulloch for the Boys Team while the Girls comprise of Tsenaye Lewis; Brittany Murray, Onika Francis, Arianna Demetrius, Solesha Young, Selena Khwalsingh, Olivia Peterkin and Dadrian Lewis.

Boys from Left: Malique Rose; Jordan Campbell; Ainsley Dehaney; Azizi Johnson; Kimoy McEwan; Derrick Francis and Ricardo Hall Girls: Brittany Murray; Onika Francis; Arianna Demetrius; Solesha Young; Selena Khwalsingh; Olivia Peterkin; Dadrian Lewis and Tsenaye Lewis (bust embedded top right)

These members qualified for the National Team following trials held in January and February 2018 and have been in training since then. They have the potential to perform well in this competition.

 “Jamaica’s Junior Table Tennis Programme has been doing very well, growing in strength due to the support and commitment of the passionate leadership of Table Tennis Jamaica, its coaches, volunteers and parents who love the game. Local and overseas tournaments provide vital exposure to this strong team of promising youngsters who are passionate about the game,” said Godfrey Lothian, President of Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ).

Accompanying the team will be National Table Tennis Coach, Satoshi Takashima, Coach Dale Parham, Team Manager Natalie Bailey Johnson and Chaperone Francena Pryce.

“Our target is to obtain more medals in individual (singles) and team events compared to last year. TTJ has organised a better training programme and the team has been working steadily,” said Coach Takashima.

The team is comprised of very strong players who are at the top of the National medal table. Azizi Johnson is Jamaica’s National Under 11 champion, Solesha Young holds the National Under 13 and Under 15 titles, Tsenaye Lewis has the Girls National Under 11 top spot while Dadrian Lewis leads the Under 18.

Some members of this current team were a part of the successful squad that won gold for Jamaica during the CRTTF Mini and Pre-Cadet Championships held in Jamaica in August 2017. That tournament saw the Jamaican ‘A’ Under 13 Girls Team claiming the title over Trinidad 3-0 while the Jamaican Under 11 Boys ‘A’ Team claimed 2nd place over the Dominican Republic.

Jamaica was also placed 3rd in the Under 15 Boys and Girls Team Events and 3rd in the Under 18 Girls Team Events at last year’s CRTTF Cadet & Junior Championships held in Guyana in April 2017.

In spite of the progress being made, the sport is being hindered by inadequate and sporadic funding. With the trip less than 2 weeks away, the team is short of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) to cover the costs of lodging, meals and incidentals in Cuba.

The overall cost of the trip is Three Million Dollars ($3,000,000). The sum of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) grant funding was provided by the Jamaica Olympic Association and Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) was provided by Sports Development Foundation. In addition, parents of the players have also donated or helped raise funds. Airfare and gears have been acquired, but the team will not be able to go if they are unable to settle expenses for lodging (accommodation) by March 28– at least two days before the scheduled departure date.

“Traveling abroad to play is not a luxury, it is an essential part of gaining exposure as a way of raising the standards of play, and inspiring the athletes to aim higher and to be better. We have potential gold medallists and Olympians among this crop, but they will never be all they can be if we do not support them with the right funding, training and exposure,” Mr. Lothian appealed.

Companies and persons wishing to offer support to the team may contact Table Tennis Jamaica at [email protected] or 616-9825.

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