St. Lucia Olympic Solidarity Course – September 28th – October 6th (ITTF-PTT Level 1 and Training Camp)
Richard McAfee (USA) Course Conductor
St. Lucia Developing Strong Grass Roots Through Extensive Schools Programs
From September 28 through October 6, St. Lucia hosted an Olympic Solidarity Course consisting of an ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course and a Training Camp for Juniors selected from around the country. The Course Conductor was Richard McAfee (USA). Both the Course and the training camp were held at the Beausejour Indoor Arena located in the capital city of Castries. St. Lucia Table Tennis Association President, Teddy Mathews, along with National Coach, Chris Wells, where in attendance every session making sure that all organization efforts ran smoothly. The maximum number of 30 participants attended the ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course which was held from Monday to Friday with two (3-hour) sessions held each day. The athlete training camp was attended by 28 juniors and held over two weekends.
St. Lucia is a small country located in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, but it has a big idea to develop the sport of table tennis throughout their school system. In the last couple of years, table tennis has become part of the regular physical education program in more than 100 schools, National Coach, Chris Wells (ITTF Level 2 Coach) and Coach Steven Joseph are employed to visit each school and conduct training for both the children and the teachers. Many school teams have been formed and compete in regional and national school tournaments. From the school teams the best athletes are promoted to St. Lucia’s High-Performance Group which trains after-school and on weekends. This group has begun to win medals in Caribbean Competitions.
The ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course Participants were mostly Physical Education Teachers who were selected from the most active schools and many of them traveled up to two hours each way to attend the course. “I was impressed by the motivation of the Level 1 Course Participants and also by the level of the junior athletes attending the camp”, noted Coach McAfee. “The vision that St Lucia Table Tennis President, Teddy Mathews, has for grass-roots development in the schools has really taken off.” More than 40 new tables are being placed into the schools this year alone. Add to this, the new skills the ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course Participates are taking back to their schools and you can see a great future for Table Tennis in St. Lucia.