THE EDITOR, Sir:
We at the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) write in response to Tony Becca's article published on Sunday, September 23, 2013 headlined 'Ping-pong days running out'.
Though we at the association appreciate greatly sentiments expressed by varying individuals and/or organisations regarding the current status of the sport, we in the same breath ask that balanced and honest opinions be the premise of whatever criticisms there be.
We at the JTTA will be the first to admit that table tennis in Jamaica is not at the place where we would want it to be. This unfortunate reality has been brought into existence as a result of varying factors, much of which this seven-month-old administration inherited.
On taking the reins of leadership of the sport in Jamaica, an assurance was given by President Godfrey Lothian that all these problems and the myriad of negative energies that had surrounded the sport in the recent past would be stamped out.
We began this process by drafting a comprehensive strategic plan that sought to address the ills that existed in the sport and chart the way forward to its eventual resuscitation. This plan was presented at a press briefing called by the association where we invited a number of media houses and other special interests, including Mr Tony Becca.
From that point until now the JTTA has been on a quest to repair the image of the sport locally. Thus far, we have had our share of success, some of which include:
Revived nine parish associations.
The association has seen the launch of a number of development programmes to target players, coaches and referees to be held locally and internationally.
We have secured table tennis equipment through the Godfrey Lothian Foundation in partnership with the German Embassy and also through Stag International.
This, however, does not take away from the fact that certain targets were not met. Specifically, teams were not sent to the Caribbean Senior Championships and the Caribbean Pre-Cadet Championships.
We can assure Jamaicans that every possible effort was put in by the administration to see that we had individuals representing the country at these championships. However, despite our best efforts, we were unable to raise the necessary funds to finance the trip, a reality which was communicated among all the immediate stakeholders who were affected.
These events have brought into sharp perspective the primary challenge the administration will have to better handle: being strategic in raising funds.
As a team, we have a vision, we have a plan, and with that, we reflect on our failings thus far. We have learnt from our disappointments, and we are again on course to see to the eventual rise of table tennis.
We can assure you, ping-pong days are not running out. We see its revival as a work in progress, and this eventual rise will only be made possible when all stakeholders come together to rebuild the sport.