Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Almost there - Table Tennis Jamaica finalises plans for regional champs

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica will host the Caribbean Region Table Tennis Championships next month, and plans for the staging are well under way. With five weeks to go to the September 23 - 29 event, Table Tennis Jamaica president Godfrey Lothian said his organisation has covered about 70 per cent of the preparations. He is keen for Jamaica to put its best foot forward since the tournament is a Pan-American Games qualifier.

"I would say that we're about 65-75 per cent (ready). We're getting there," Lothian said before detailing confirmed sponsorship for the National Arena. "For example, we were able to secure Government paying for the venue of $6 million, so that is off our heads."

"We also have secured Knutsford Court Hotel as the official hotel of the tournament, so we have an official hotel. We have a water sponsor, we have transportation, we have the venue," he said.

The event has also attracted support from, the Latin American Table Tennis Union.

Additional funding is being sought.

 

NO ORDINARY TOURNAMENT

 

"You have to ensure that everything is in place because, look, this is not like the ordinary Caribbean tournament," Lothian stressed. "It will be a qualifying tournament for the Pan-American Games next year, so we have to ensure that we put our best foot forward."

The tournament will be played on new tables supplied under the federation's four-year deal with STAG International, a table tennis equipment maker. "We have also talked to the IPL (International Panel and Lumber, a manufacturer of wood-based construction products), and they will be putting down the board flooring," Lothian shared. "Those board floorings will have eight tables for matches, and in another section of the arena, there will be six tables for practice." The incoming shipment will also include playing area borders and umpires' tables.

The Jamaican team will be picked following the last of a series of trial events on September 8 and 9. The president said, "We are trying to make it transparent." He concluded, "We are trying to ensure that nobody says they are left out, and at the end of the day, we hope that what we do is in keeping with the policy."

The venue for the final trial will be announced shortly.