'The future is bright' - Takashima wants junior TT players to work hard after departure
National table tennis head coach, Satoshi Takashima says he sees a bright future for Jamaica, if its young players continue to train hard. Takashima returns to his homeland of Japan in January, after a two year stint in the island and said he is impressed with the talent on display, which was showcased at the 2018 Caribbean Mini and Pre-Cadet Championships.
"Yes, if we continue, we keep on training these youngsters but also the other countries like Dominican Republic, Cuba, also there are good youngsters, so I think it's not so easy even if they train harder." The Dominican Republic dominated the boys' competition in Kingston last year, with Mario Tavarez and Ramon Vila taking the Under 13 and Under 11 singles respectively after leading their country to the team titles in each age group.
"It's still very hard results when they grow up juniors to seniors," coach Takashima considered, "but we have to build."
He notes that other Caribbean countries have players training and competing overseas and he believes this is a step Jamaica should take. "I think it's so important," he stressed. "Jamaican players should train with better players so I think they should have the opportunity to train with better players overseas," he explained.
Takashima said that the Caribbean Senior Championship silver medal won by Simon Tomlinson and Kane Watson is one of the memorable moments of his tour of duty in Jamaica. He said that the medals won and the successes by Jamaica at the 2018 Caribbean Mini and Pre-Cadet Championships were high points of his time as national coach.
With Takashima, a former Japanese international player in the coaching chair, Tomlinson and Watson reached the final without surrendering a single set. However, they lost 9-11, 6-11, 6-11 to Samuel Galvez and Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic. "This September, Simon and Kane got silver, very, very good for our country this year in Senior Championships," he remarked, "and under 11 in Cadet, a good result last year, this is also for me very satisfying."
"Like Simon and also Kane, they have been training in the US with players, but the kind of training is very important."
Asked whether Jamaican players might train in Japan, Takashima related that early efforts in this regard had not worked but said, "Yes, it's possible."
Takashima, who has done coaching work in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Takashima took up his post early in 2017 through a partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Table Tennis Jamaica.