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Two-time former Caribbean singles champion Chelsea Edghill is calling for more support from the government, the governing sports bodies and corporate Guyana in an effort to assist local Table tennis players reach their full potential.
Edghill made the call on Friday at a press conference she held at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue. “We need more support from the government and our governing bodies sports wise in general,” said the former Caribbean U13 and U21 champion.
Edghill, though, cautioned local athletes that it was not a one-way street as the local athletes also need to give something in return. “We need to, as athletes, offer something in return. It might it be an image, might be a great talent or something, it’s a two-way street and I think we need to have more of a dialogue with these companies and have more of a sit down on an organizational level to say `ok this is where I want to see this athlete, this is where I want to go’ and figure out the plan as to how we can get there.”
According to Edghill over the years acquiring sponsorship has been difficult for her and oftentimes her parents were forced to assist her, although she was representing Guyana. “Throughout my career majority of the onus was on my parents. They funded almost all of my trips, funded my training and all of my travels and everything that I would ever want from the sport,” she said.
Edghill who recently participated at the Latin America singles and doubles Olympic Qualifiers in Argentina recently, also called for a proper structure for ping pong locally.
“I think firstly we need to start from an association level. Once there is a structure in terms of how we develop our athletes and make them socially viable and make them ready to where they are a brand, then companies would want them,” she opined. She also said that more facilities in the form of tables, rubbers, blades and such like were needed to help the sport grow.
“We don’t have the facilities to produce top international athletes, one being we don’t have the population of table tennis players to be able to do so to begin with and second at this point there is no structure or programmes in place to facilitate and ensure we produce top class players,” she ended.