ONE of Jamaica's top female table tennis players, Tracey-Ann Dattadeen, who is the reigning intercollegiate singles champion, has called for expansion in the sport to lay the foundation for greatness.
A St Mary native and one of three Jamaicans to the World Team Women's Championships in Dortmund, Germany earlier this year, Dattadeen wants to "reach the ultimate level. As far as my potential takes me."
Majoring in Radiography at the University of the West Indies, she believes resources and coaching are key to achieving her goals and developing table tennis in Jamaica.
The St Mary High School past student considers these two elements central to the dominance of players from China, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.
"These players tend to have better resources due to the development of the sport. Coaching and resources are critical to any sport's success and I believe this is where these countries have the advantage.
"If more development takes place for the sport of table tennis in Jamaica whereby national players are given more international exposure, I believe that Jamaican players can become as great as China, Japan, etc," she pointed out.
Recipient of the People's Choice Award at the recent UWI Annual Sports Awards ceremony, Dattadeen said the experience in Germany was one that she would "cherish forever".
Born in Annotto Bay, she attended Cromwell Land Basic School, Highgate Primary and Junior High, before going on to St Mary High School.
Her elder sister Jodi-Ann encouraged her to join the table tennis club when Tracey-Ann started seventh grade.
She became a quick learner, making the school team that year and the national team in the ninth grade two years later.
"From entering the ISSA competition, I realised that I was capable of defeating higher-ranked players and this motivated me to put in extra hours to be dominant," she recalled.
Despite taking part in Caribbean Championships in St Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and the Dominican Republic, and the Junior Commonwealth Games in Pune, India in 2009, Dattadeen was ecstatic about the March 25 to April 1, 2012 Liebherr World Team Table Tennis Championships in Dortmund.
"I not only gained more international experience, but I had the opportunity to meet some of the greatest players in the world. These are players that have made valuable contributions to the sport and I hope to follow in their footsteps in the very near future," she stated.
Jamaica played Kosovo, Trinidad, Guernsey Channel Islands and Uganda and finished 89th of the 90 teams participating.
Dattadeen's only win was against Elizabeth Priest of Guernsey CI, winning 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 11-7, 13-11.
Extreme Spin Open Under-18 champion two years ago and a member of the St Mary's High Rural and All-Island winning team last year, Dattadeen draws her strengths from the support of "friends, family and that special someone" who are constant reminders that I have a talent that should be enhanced.
"My greatest weakness is that I might never get to reach my full potential due to lack of adequate resources. I am, however, fully committed and motivated to exert the extra effort needed in order to reach my potential," she pointed out.