In an effort to encourage longevity and competitiveness in the sport of table tennis locally, the Nassau Youth Table Tennis Club will host a tournament on Saturday, May 21 at the L.W. Young Junior High School on Bernard Road.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Bahamas Table Tennis Federation. It will feature under-12, under-16 and under-19 divisions for both boys and girls. The tournament is free of charge, and water, light snacks, paddles and table tennis balls will be provided. There will be ample tables for the matches to be played on.
Organizer of the event Sudan Khalfani said the table tennis community is finally getting itself back on its feet as they look to resume training and tournaments following the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This tournament is a very important one because this is where I get a good idea of the level of skills that we have with the youth in The Bahamas. There will be a series of tournaments in short order that will be produced so that we can have a good temperature of the skill level of the children,” Khalfani said.
Khalfani said he has been working with some juniors for the past few months, teaching them the game at L.W. Young. Prior to COVID-19, Khalfani was already working with some of the juniors. After the restrictions were loosened and action resumed, he welcomed some newer children to the training sessions.
“The children who were there prior to COVID maintained their skill level and have improved. I have seen the biggest improvement in the new kids where they are developing at a much faster rate thanks to the federation and sponsors. It allowed me to facilitate their progress. I am very proud of the newer children because of their ability to learn. All are enthusiastic,” Khalfani said.
Khalfani said he was not surprised at the interest from the junior players for the sport.
“The more kids I see playing, it gives me hope that there is a big future for table tennis,” Khalfani said. “It also helps the federation because the more children who are participating, the more they can lend their support, the more champions that we can develop, and the more scholarship opportunities they can get.”
The federation is planning to have about three tournaments like the upcoming one, plus a national event, and they are looking to build a national team.
Khalfani is in the process of going into the inner city to teach the sport through the Urban Renewal Program.
Interested persons who want to play in the upcoming tournament can contact Khalfani at (242) 426-5153 or at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.