More exposure needed for national players, especially females
Table tennis player Shenique Clare aiming to strengthen her game
TABLE tennis player Shenique Anna Kaye Clare says she wants the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) to try, as best as possible, to provide more exposure, especially at the international level, for all national players, placing emphasis on female players whom she believes are just as talented as the males.
"I want them to concentrate on female players, not only on the males, as well as younger players," Clare said in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Clare says she is fully aware that the present administration of the JTTA, despite being strapped for cash, is doing its best to provide opportunities for players, but emphasised that the progress of the sport she loves so much is dependent on the development of players, and that means international exposure at all levels.
"I fully understand the situation and the difficulties, but all players, including myself, still crave for international exposure that will eventually assist us, the players, in reaching our pinnacle in the sport of table tennis," said the 24-year-old, who has been playing table tennis for most of her life.
"I started playing from prep school in grade five. I went on to captain the Glenmuir High School team where we won the rural and all-island championships five times. I have been a semi-finalist and finalist in the national championships on multiple occasions. I also captained the University of the West Indies team in the Inter-Collegiate competition, which we won four times and I won the singles section three times," she told the Observer.
Clare, who now trains with Ricardo Robinson and national coach Steven Grant, shared that she is now in preparation for upcoming events later this year. "Training is going well. I am just getting back in the groove... trying to tighten up on the technical part," she said, at the same time hinting at the difficulties of balancing working and training.
"I work in the days and train in the nights I leave work at 4:30 pm and get to training about an hour later. It is difficult because it gets tiresome at times, but this is what players like myself have to do in order to achieve, she noted."
A number of tournaments are slated for this year, including the Caribbean Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, and the World Championships.
"I want to make it to these competitions and do well for my country and myself. That is why I am training so hard," the former Glenmuir player said. "Another major goal of mine is to win the local national championships."
The five-feet-six-inches tall player, who was a part of Jamaica's World Champs team in 2012, has also tried her hand at coaching, having coached her former prep school, St Thomas Moore, and assisted with the Glenmuir team in the past.