The St Lucia National Table Tennis Association (SLNTTA) moves into high gear with final preparations for the hosting of the OECS Table Tennis Championships from August 24-25, and the Senior Caribbean Table Tennis Championships from August 27-31 at the Beausejour Indoor Facility.
The Senior Caribbean Table Tennis Championships kick off on Tuesday August 27with a formal opening ceremony followed by opening matches. In attendance will be Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward; Parliamentary Representative for Gros-Islet, Emma Hippolyte; Mr Juan Villa, President – Caribbean Regional Table Tennis Federation, Juan Villa; President of the St Lucia National Olympic Committee, Fortuna Belrose; President of the Senate and Past President of the SLNTTA, Claudius Francis; and other Past Presidents of the SLNTTA, representatives of the various Sporting Associations, Council Members of the Gros-Islet Town and Village Council and distinguished Sponsors. Also in attendance will be delegates and players from 11 currently confirmed countries including the Dominican Republic – defending ladies team, ladies doubles, under 21 boys and girls champions, Trinidad and Tobago – defending men’s teams Champions, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Aruba, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Vincent, St Kitts and host country St Lucia.
Chairperson of the Organizing Committee, Elizabeth Charles- Soomer says she is pleased with the pace and level of the arrangements at the facility and is confident that a first class event will be delivered. She expressed a bit of disappointment that only three OECS teams have so far confirmed participation, but says she would not be surprised if there were last minute confirmations. St Vincent’s men’s defending team champions and St Kitts have so far confirmed.
President of the SLNTTA, Teddy Matthews, indicates that the OECS Championships have been scheduled this year, as a precursor to the Caribbean Championships, and will therefore serve as preparation for the OECS countries to compete at the Caribbean level. So despite the current level of OECS confirmations, an exciting weekend of OECS Table Tennis is expected. St. Lucia will defend its men’s singles and doubles titles and the ladies’ singles title.
For the OECS Championships this weekend, the St Lucia men’s contingent will be distributed between two teams, to allow maximum exposure for the local players in preparation for the Senior Caribbean Table Tennis Championships. The A Team consists of Adrian Albert – St Lucia’s number one and three time OECS Singles Champion; Chris Wells, St Lucia’s number two and Up and coming 19 year old Omarie Ferdinand who ranks number three nationally.
The B Team is headed by overseas based power house and former national and OECS Champion Adrian Glace and will include Orville Innocent and Franklin Noel. In the Ladies Division, St Lucia will be represented at the OECS Championships by Shermaine Blasse-Hyacinth, the defending Ladies Singles Champion and Dawn Charles, a Canadian based player who ranks number 28 in Ontario.