Kavanaugh blazes trail for Caribbean TT trainers
Peter Kavanaugh, who recently became the first Caribbean national to conduct an international level-one coaches' course in Grenada, says his aim is to develop the sport in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Kavanaugh, one of Jamaica's six national course conductors, but the only internationally qualified one, has dedicated most of his life to the sport he has loved as player and then coach.
However, since learning of the International Table Tennis Federation's (ITTF) position of course conductor, a person who trains coaches, his interest has resided in developing the game at the grass-roots level and training coaches to teach the game. His stint in Grenada is a result of the hard work and high standard he has set over the years in the profession.
"I have dedicated most of my life to table tennis," he said. "I was player and then coach from back in the '90s. I coached national champions. As an administrator, I served as development officer for Jamaica.
"In 2008, we started the march to get coaches certified at level one. I did the level-one course, and I realised that there was a position called course conductor, where you can be a trainer of trainers, and that is where my interest started," he recalled.
In 2014, because of his exceptional groundwork, he was one of eight conductors invited for a level-one course conductor programme in the United States America, and from the eight persons there, he outscored everyone in the theoretical aspect of the course. "So I got the status of being national course conductor," he said.
After returning to Jamaica, he embarked on a quest to lift the game national and regionally. "Within a year, I ran my first level-one course because you needed to do at least one to get fully certified. But the aim is to raise their level from national to international," he said.
"Because of the standard [I have], I can actually represent them (ITTF) internationally. They have development officers called continental development officers, but these persons are mainly Hispanic; there is no English-speaking one.
"In the last six weeks, they said there was an opportunity in the Caribbean, in Grenada, and they wanted me to take up this stint. I am a Caribbean person who believes we must support our brothers in the wider region, so I had no hesitation. Also, I knew I would be flying Jamaica's flag high because no Caribbean national has ever been asked to do such a thing," he said.
"So, this is just one step for me. It is the first, and for me, service to your fellow man is the best service you can give, and it's great to have been of service to the Caribbean and otherwise," he commented.
"I hope what I am doing, people will get an opportunity in economics, coaching, and children playing the game at the grass-roots level playing across the entire island and Caribbean. I will try to guide them in terms of the process and standard I hold as it can make a difference in the lives of person," he added.
Godfrey Lothian, Table Tennis Jamaica president, said that Jamaica is the leading country in the region when it comes to certifying coaches, and he noted that Kavanaugh leads the local charge in this regard.
"We are the only country in the Caribbean that has level-three coaches. We made references a couple months ago that we will be exporting some of our coaches, so Mr Kavanaugh, through the ITTF, went and did the course and got that job and became the first Jamaican to conduct an overseas course," he said.