The Endeavor Games in Edmond, OK, USA June 6-9, 2019
The Endeavor Games took place last week in Edmond Oklahoma, and was hosted at University of Central Oklahoma (OCU) for the 20th consecutive year. The Games had over 300 athletes participating and had over 500 volunteers organizing the games, which featured track & field, powerlifting, air rifle shooting, wheelchair basketball, swimming, archery, cycling, table tennis, wheelchair softball and sitting Volleyball. Table Tennis had 26 entries in 2 categories; Junior singles under 18 years old with 10 entries, and adults singles with 16 entries. The athletes came in from all over USA, TX, OK, KS, CO, NM, AR, NO, to mention a few places.
Christian Lillieroos, was sent by USATT to help out with the organization of the tournament and to do a coaching clinic for the athletes. Christian has experience from conducting about 20 ITTF Sanctioned tournaments including some Paralympic games and World championships and has coached Para Table tennis athletes for over 30 years all over the world and is also a certified ITTF Level 2 technical classifier. The tournament director was Vivianne Freeman who works at the recreational sports division of UCO and is also the staff advisor to the UCO Table Tennis club. She did a great job and was very open to making small adjustments to the format and rules to follow USATT standards. She was accompanied by 8 volunteer ball persons, who were very helpful.
The tournament was played on 6 regulation sized courts, on a wooden floor with nice lighting. Jennifer Lucarevic is an ITTF Level 3 Medical Classifier, and also a Track and Field International classifier, with a past as an athlete in both Soccer and Basketball, and she has a very good understanding of the technical side of Table tennis. She is currently the Table tennis technical representative for Adaptive Sports USA, which means that she deals with all development issues for physically impaired athletes in Table Tennis in the USA, and she was present to help out with the tournament.
Since the ITTF took over the governance of all Table Tennis categories including PTT in 2009, the national governing bodies have the exclusive responsibility to govern, select, and train the PTT National teams and to be in charge of the development of all PTT athletes. Jasna Rather was hired in 2013 by USATT to be the Para Table Tennis Manager for USATT and she has the big task to deal with all these responsibilities on only a part time basis.
The national teams elite development is pretty easy for a national able bodied governing body to handle, but the development of PTT athletes is more complicated, because it follows more of a medical model dealing with hospitals and rehabilitation centers etc. This year USATT has committed more resources to make sure this part of the development is taken care of better. Jennifer Lucarevic has been instrumental in helping USATT make this possible with the support of Jasna Rather. Jennifer Lucarevic is working on a model that can be better copied in several games so Table Tennis can be better represented and have a link to USATT, so the young developing athletes can easier find support, competitions and training opportunities.
Among the 26 entries we had 3 athletes with an ITTF classification. The winner in the adult division from New Mexico was Jon Redman, class 4 (wheelchair), who was inducted as the first and so far only Table Tennis athlete into the Endeavour Games Hall of Fame in 2018, Octavius Class 9 (standing), and class 1 Michael (Cowboy) Godfrey (wheelchair).
The competition was pretty hard as only one of the 3 got a medal. Michael is coming back from a very extensive reconstructive shoulder surgery only 5 months back, with too many screws in his shoulder to mention, so he will improve quickly in the near future, when he has rehabilitated his playing shoulder more.
1st – Jon Redman
2nd - Joshua Hodgson
3rd – Jeremy Mellegaard
1st - Dylan Jones
2nd – Sydney Durr
3rd – Ryanne Carr