Tue | Jan 18, 2022

Caribbean pressing for more TT resources, says JTTA president

Published:Wednesday | December 1, 2021 | 12:05 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Andrew Lue.
Andrew Lue.
National players, sisters Gianna Lewis (left) and Tsenaye Lewis, at a training session recently. Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) president, Andrew Lue, says the Caribbean region needs more resources for the sport’s development.
National players, sisters Gianna Lewis (left) and Tsenaye Lewis, at a training session recently. Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) president, Andrew Lue, says the Caribbean region needs more resources for the sport’s development.
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ANDREW LUE, president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA), says regional federations are pressing for a more even share of the sport’s resources so they can develop players.

Lue, who attended the just-concluded World Championships in Houston, Texas, says the region is trying to attract a major table tennis equipment manufacturer to set up shop in the Caribbean to mitigate costs the federations all face.

“That problem is a common problem in our region simply because we don’t have the manufacturers of equipment close to us. So, one, the shipping cost is astronomical, especially with COVID, and this causes a big strain on a lot of the regional bodies. And so one of the things that we’re trying to do is to see if we can attract a major equipment manufacturer to set up shop somewhere in the region,” said Lue, the former Carifta team table tennis gold medallist.

“That factory would be able to support the Caribbean and the PanAm region without having to pay so much,” he added.

Lue has watched the November 23-29 event from an organisational perspective as well.

“One thing that really hit home to me is the organisation behind the whole marketing, public relations, just the sponsorship,” he observed. “It’s clear that, once you have proper sponsorship in place, then you’re able to do more. You’re able to get the players focused on the game and the tournament is run properly, like clockwork. So I think that’s the main thing that we have to have, the resources to run our show better,” Lue detailed.

He praised Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, who is world-ranked at number 16. After seeing her reach the round of 16 in Houston, the JTTA president agreed that she is an inspiration.

“Yes, but then it comes back again to resources,” he pinpointed. “So that’s something we definitely are talking to the ITTF about, is how we can get that level of support on a more even and broad scale so that the sport can grow in the region.”

With this in mind, he has been actively seeking to make deals with those who might help develop the sport in Jamaica.

Caribbean Regional Table Tennis Federation (CRTTF) president, Teddy Matthews, ran for an ITTF vice-presidency without success. But Lue thinks new International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) leader, Petra Sörling of Sweden, will do a good job.

“She has broad support and she has a great team. The vice-presidents that were elected, good team. Unfortunately, our point man from the region, we were trying to get him in, Teddy Matthews from CRTTF, fell short of being elected. But we have a good set of vice-presidents,” he tabled expectantly.

Sörling is the first woman to head the ITTF.