The 55th Caribbean Table Tennis Championships concluded on Saturday evening with the finals of the ladies and men’s open singles and Closing and Awards Ceremony at the Beausejour Indoor.
Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward and President of the St Lucia Olympic Commnittee, Fortuna Belrose; Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM, Dr June Soomer; President of the Caribbean Region Table Tennis Association, Juan Villa and President of the St Lucia Table Tennis Association (SLNTTA) and player Teddy, Matthews were among the special guests at the awards ceremony.
Prior to the awards being presented, Edwards during his brief remarks congratulated the SLNTTA for staging a very successful Caribbean Tournament. He mentioned that table tennis as a sporting discipline in St Lucia has had challenges over the years and said “persons like SLNTTA President Teddy Matthews has had to carry the burden almost single handily to ensure the sport does not die in this country.”
He went on to say: “I am extremely pleased and elated as the minister, of the fact that the tournament did come to our shores and we acquitted ourselves impressively. In my interaction with participants from neighboring countries, they are pretty satisfied with the level of competition and the manner in which the SLNTTA went about executing their duties.”
The minister is hoping that hosting this Caribbean Championship, will give the association needed impetus to take table tennis beyond Castries and Gros Islet. He challenged the SLNTTA to use this tournament as a way to get table tennis into the schools and the various pocket communities of St Lucia.
Eva Brito of the Dominican Republic won both the junior girls and ladies open singles titles while Trinidadian pro, Dexter St. Louis captured the men’s singles title against Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic in straight sets. Isaac Vila of the Dominican Republic captured the boys singles title and former Caribbean Open Singles Champion, Raul Betancourt of Cuba, won the masters open singles title.
In the doubles event, Trenace Lowe and Chelsea Edghill of Guyana won the ladies doubles; Juan Vila Batista and Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic won the men’s doubles, while Dexter St. Louis and Rheanne Chung won the mixed doubles title.
In terms of Country performance, the Dominican Republic dominated winning five of the 10 first place titles; Trinidad and Tobago ranked second with three of 10 titles and Cuba and Guyana third with one each.
St Lucia placed fifth out of 10 teams in the Men’s Team Event. Teddy Matthews, a former Caribbean Junior Champion showed his might by placing third in the masters open singles event.
Chairperson of the Organizing Committee, Elizabeth Charles-Soomer, expressed her satisfied with St Lucia’s hosting of the both the OECS and Caribbean Championships. It involved hard and continuous work but the team of six committee members, volunteers and officials enabled by kind sponsors, worked well together and delivered a high quality event. The Organizing Committee is to meet later this week, to fully assess the tournament both in terms of the hosting and the national team’s performance.