Sandy smashes table tennis infrastructure in Portland
TABLE tennis development in Portland took a hit after Hurricane Sandy destroyed several centres where the sport is played.
Chairman of Reggaeland Sports and Music Academy, former national representative and first vice president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA), Samuel Lamount, told the Jamaica Observer that practise centres at Titchfield High School, Breastworks Community Centre and Carder Park had been damaged and seven table tennis boards completely destroyed.
The Breastworks Centre was completely destroyed with several tables and other equipment washed away by the nearby river.
"We can't train properly now. We don't have any venues to practise and some of the tables are gone because the rain damaged them," Lamount said.
Titchfield High boys are the national Under-16 and rural area champions and the roof of the school's auditorium where the team trains was damaged.
"That fact means we will not be able to use it for a while so no training is currently going on at Titchfield," Lamount added.
The Reggaeland Sports Academy table tennis programme was initially started with funding from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
That Goodwill Funding ran out in 2007, but the programme has continued since.
"We are preparing for a special Olympic programme gearing towards 2016 Olympic qualification so already the programme has been set back."
He added that several of the academy's benefactors are also based in New York and Connecticut in the United States and were also affected by the hurricane.
"We are now planning to go on the road and try to make some money," he stated.
Five players from the parish won medals at the Caribbean Precadet and Cadet Championship held July 20-25.