Table tennis is looking to reassert itself on the Cayman sports scene.
The Cayman Islands Table Tennis Association will stage a local invitational tournament, now dubbed the “BDO/C.I. Table Tennis Open.” Mary Miller Hall in George Town is slated to host the competition, which caters to various age groups, this Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1 p.m.
Association president Robert Sairsingh said growth remains the focus for the inaugural event.
“I’m very keen to see it happen, we’re trying to do all we can to make sure it’s a success,” Sairsingh said. “I hope it will be a catalyst to grow table tennis enthusiasm Island-wide and even into the Sister Islands. Our main thurst now is to achieve that and get people playing table tennis, from those who used to do so in the past to those who never played.
“We want to get the sport reenergized and people playing again recreationally. From there, we’ll be happy to get teams and tournaments going.”
Saturday’s event, which has teams warming up in the hall from noon, features five divisions. The Under-12 and Under-18 age groups play first at 1 p.m., with the Under-15s and 45 and over sections in action at 3 p.m. and a ‘main draw’ segment launching at 5 p.m. There are 15-minute medal presentations after each group finishes and the tournament is slated to end by roughly 9 p.m.
Sairsingh is part of a new leadership regime in the association after recent elections. Donovan Nelson serves as vice president, Asko Rasinen is general secretary, Ansel Tempral handles treasurer duties and Michael Ricketts is listed as public relations officer.
Nelson echoed Sairnsingh’s sentiments, saying youth involvement is a key component.
“This is like a icebreaker, we’ve been trying to get this sport off the ground for quite some time,” Nelson said. “It’s a step in the right direction for greater things to come. We are targetting the youth, our aim is to get the sport part of the school curriculum. This is a step in that direction, by getting the youth involved.”
Table tennis has been ongoing, mainly through practice sessions at the John Gray High School hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m. Nelson mentioned in passing that there are youngsters who take part representing institutions like John Gray, St. Ignatius and Cayman Prep.