GTTA goes with youth & experience for CAC Qualifiers & Caribbean Championships

The Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) has named the Men & Women’s national teams that will be representing Guyana at the Central American & Caribbean (CAC) games Qualifier and Senior Caribbean Championships. The events will be held from 16th to 19th March and 20th to 25th March respectively.

For the Men’s Team, the following players have been selected: Shemar Britton, Jonathan Van Lange, Joel Alleyne, Elishaba Johnson, and Paul David. The Women’s Team comprises Chelsea Edghill OLY, Natalie Cummings, Priscilla Greaves, Thuraia Thomas, and Jasmine Billingy.

The GTTA selection committee, has carefully chosen the players based on their performance in recent local, regional tournaments and overseas engagement at club and circuit level. The GTTA believes that the mixture of seasoned players and youth during this transition period along with their continued preparation have what it takes to represent Guyana well in these tournaments with emphasis on the CAC qualifier.

The players have been training daily for the events, these sessions include practice and physical training. The GTTA is grateful for the support partnerships which is aiding in providing the team with the necessary resources and support to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the competitions. As part of the training ,the association has also been working with the players to develop their mental toughness and strategies, which are crucial in high-pressure matches.

The GTTA President, Godfrey Munroe, expressed his confidence in the selected teams, saying, “We are very proud of the players that have been selected to represent Guyana at these important events. We believe that they have the potential to do very well, and we will continue to support them in any way we can. We wish them all the best and hope that they will make Guyana proud.”

The Men’s Team CAC games Qualifier and Senior Caribbean Championships will take place from 16th to 19th March, while the Women’s Team CAC games Qualifier and Senior Caribbean Championships will be held from 20th to 25th March. The GTTA is encouraging the people of Guyana to come out and support the national teams as they compete against the best players from the Caribbean and Central America.


GTTA’s meeting with Chinese Embassy fruitful

Mr. Chen Xilai, the Deputy Chief of the Chinese Embassy, invited Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) President Godfrey Munroe and his team last Thursday (February 2) to have a discussion on the shared vision and continued partnership between the Peoples Republic of China and the Guyana Table Tennis Association.
Mr. Chen shared a quote which forms part of the Chinese philosophy “It is joyful to play alone but its more joyful to play with others”

On this premise both sides discussed the continued partnership in relation to overseas and local training stints for players at all levels at the High Yield Training centres in China in 2023, training opportunities for officials, high level coaches to visit Guyana to work with our national teams, technical support and combined efforts on projects which will be geared to impact the livelihood of members of communities.

GTTA President Mr. Godfrey Munroe and Mr. Chen Xilai, Deputy Chief of the Embassy.

Several other initiatives were discussed including a goodwill tournament similar to the one held last year to celebrate 50 years of bilateral engagement between the two nations.

A review of some initiatives inclusive of the donation of equipment to the national program and the school program in partnership with the Ministry of Education was presented by GTTA President who also took the opportunity to convey greetings on behalf of the Minister of Education Hon. Priya Manickchand who is keen on having China’s support for expanding the national table tennis for schools project as part of the Ministry’s and Minister’s plan to have each student exiting the schools system exposed and oriented to sports, language and playing one musical instrument .

‘World Boss’ dreams of Caribbean U-18 Table Tennis Gold and National Women’s Title

In the world of sports, confidence is key along with dedication, discipline and a drive to succeed; all attributes that 15-year-old National Junior Table Tennis player Thuraia Thomas possesses and has been putting to good use thus far in her career.

The self-styled “World Boss” as she is known by her colleagues at the Titans Table Tennis Club, sat down with The 592 Dugout and spoke of her journey into the world of Table Tennis.

“I started playing as an extracurricular activity in school (Marian Academy) when I was in Grade 3 back in 2013. At the time my older brother also used to play and I have this thing where I always say ‘anything he can do I can do better’, after a few years of playing in school, (National) Coach Linden Johnson invited me to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to train. From thereon I started getting better but my true potential wasn’t realized until I transferred to Titans Table Tennis Club. It was when I started going on winning streaks then I realized that table tennis might actually be my calling and therefore I stuck with it”.

The outspoken teenager who is currently Guyana’s National Girls U-15 Champion took the time to acknowledge her support system that plays a key role in her development.

“My biggest supporters have always been my family, especially my father. He has supported me from the beginning; he’s there at every tournament and training session. Another person I’d like to acknowledge who has also had a hand in my development as a player is Coach Dwain Dick”.

Asked about what fuels her drive to push on, Thuraia revealed; “Self-motivation is a key factor and I am able to say that whenever I’m on the table I keep pushing myself because I know I have goals. My faith in God is also something that I rely on and he definitely helps me alot.”

Keeping an eye on the future, the youngster who is about to enter fifth form at the Marian Academy has her eyes set on a few goals both academic and in table tennis.

“My main goal is to finish my education and be successful in whatever I do. However, in terms of tennis I would like to be awarded a NCTTA (National Collegiate Table Tennis Association) scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in either Microbiology or Biochemistry while of course continuing to play table tennis”. 

“After university life I plan on competing in various international tournaments and to play my part in putting Guyana on the map” she maintained.

The road to her academic goals are well under way and “World Boss” touched on that journey; “The road to achieving my academic goals seem smooth but where table tennis is concerned, it is on pause due to the covid pandemic, but I still am keeping fit and I also try to educate myself even further on the sport by watching videos and reading”.

Thuraia who has been winning tournaments consistently since 2014, has a full trophy cabinet from local and national competitions but what she cherishes the most is her place on the Junior National team.

“I would say my biggest accomplishment to date is being able to represent my country at the regional level and the fact that I have been able to make a name for myself at those tournaments”.

At this tender age, Thuraia has bigger aspirations for herself on the table and bluntly stated her ambition; “My heart is set on winning the U-18 Junior Caribbean title and I am bent on becoming the national women’s champion as well”.

Quizzed about who she thinks is her biggest rival, she name-dropped current Women’s champion and world-ranked player Natalie ‘Speedy’ Cummings.

Stepping away from the table, Thuraia’s interest is that of a normal teen; “When I’m not playing tennis, I am either reading, learning new songs on the piano, playing basketball and I love karaoke”.

In closing, Thomas had a message; “For the little girls who are now entering the world of sports, my advice is that you just have fun and do everything to the best of your ability. If you think that sports is your new found love, then stick with it and always put your best foot forward and keep pushing yourselves to greater things, it will serve you well”.

Titans Table Tennis Club planning for Life after Covid-19

  • Dick urges National Federations to unite & improve policies

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world throughout without discretion and has brought sports to a standstill. While in certain parts of the world professional football and motorsports have resumed behind closed doors and under specific conditions, it is unclear when it would be safe for sports in Guyana to make a return.

However, despite this uncertainty, Guyana’s leading table tennis institution, the Titans Table Tennis Club is remaining proactive in its plans for the future. Known for their almost factory-like production of top junior athletes, The Titans family has been putting their time during lockdown to good use.

In an exclusive interview, Titans’ President and Head Coach Dwain Dick, told The 592 Dugout that the younger athletes have been given a much needed break.

Dick opined; “I think the uncertainty of our return to normalcy is the biggest concern. Sports have been a big part of our lives as coaches, players, and even parents, thus, the pandemic has forced us to alter our schedules and our lives to some extent. It’s challenging, but we are all trying to cope, by focusing and prioritizing our areas that were somewhat a bit neglected because of table tennis. The younger athletes now have more time to rest and place emphasis on academics”.

Titans Head Coach Dwain Dick addressing his charges before a training session.

Despite there not being any guidance from the relevant sports authorities, the Titans administration has been busy looking ahead to when it is finally safe to resume operations.

To this end, Dick revealed; “We are presently drafting a set of safety protocols for the return of our senior (adult) and elite junior players as a trial. This would include temperature tests, wearing of masks, playing areas limited to only coaches and specific number of players, handling of equipment and a few other things that would have to be adhered to”.

Looking at the impact of the lockdown and it’s ripple effects, both negative and positive, the outspoken Titans President explained; “Our full time coaches were forced more or less to take up part time employment outside of sports so we are all trying to adjust. It is taking a financial toll on us as we still would have had some overheads but we are trying to cushion those expenses through our academic arm, the TTTC Virtual Learning Academy”.

He further revealed; “It’s an online platform where we offer students, student/athletes, and adults tutoring in subjects that propel them towards careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”.

He continued; “Since the inception of Titans I was offering CSEC Mathematics to club members with phenomenal success. It is just that this period has given us the opportunity to think and plan ahead a bit more seriously or in other terms, has forced us to consider opportunities in the present”.

Quizzed about plans for when the club can finally resume their operations, Dick revealed; “There are no immediate plans for tournaments but we are in the process of drafting our elite junior program, which hopefully we will be able to implement. It’s a junior program that will see us moving away from the recreational aspect into the professional (elite) realm”.

Dick who was a former national player appealed to everyone to be; “more responsible and cautious. As we put ourselves at risk, we also put others at risk too”.

In closing he encouraged the various national federations to; “Collaborate whether it’s virtually and use this period to strengthen and improve their policies etc, so that when sports resumes we can see them operating at the highest standards. They can use this time to communicate their vision and become more efficient and effective, as well as see ways how to improve athletes performances and how best to support athletes”.

“To the parents, emotional support provides the biggest benefits to young athletes, so continue to be that support. To my fellow coaches, adapt, and find ways to stay relevant. This time will pass”.

Dick further urged; “To the players, stay positive, there will be more chances and opportunities in the future. To become a great athlete it requires tremendous amounts of dedication, discipline, desire and effort. Stand up and face the present challenges. Stay positive, remember it’s not about a one time trip, it’s about self development, being the best that you can be”.