Angels Table Tennis Academy using the internet to fuel dreams
Andre Richardson (second left) and Kelsey Davidson, (second right) navigate the internet on a laptop, while president and coach of the Angels Table Tennis Academy, Richard Davidson (left) and Flow’s Community Program Coordinator, Courtney Bell, look on. Flow recently provided the Academy with free internet access to assist in its goal of establishing a homework centre.

Richard Davidson, president and coach of the Angels Table Tennis Academy in Spanish Town, has ambitious plans for the academy and the youths who use it.

Since its formation in 2010, the facility has produced several national players and has been a vital recreational centre for surrounding communities. Having realised the importance the facility plays, Richardson recently added music and chess classes and is in the process of establishing a homework centre at the academy. This is when he reached out to the Flow Foundation to help him achieve his goals of impacting more youths through readily available internet access.

“Our plan is to open the facility to the community because there are many homes that do not have internet access and we want our children to have the internet to do their research and complete their homework, so it’s a big plus not only for the academy but the community as well. Any child that does not have internet at home can come to the academy and have access to it,” Davidson pointed out.

Le-Anna Smith (second left), national table tennis player and St Jago High student, teaches Flow’s Community Program Coordinator, Courtney Bell, the perfect serve at the Angels Table Tennis Academy in Spanish Town recently. Looking on are Richard Davidson (left), president and coach of the academy, and Sean Smith, member of the Angels Citizen's Association and Flow Employee Volunteer.

The Flow Foundation donated the wi-fi infrastructure which will allow fast and reliable connections and facilitate multiple users simultaneously. Davidson added that the internet will also benefit the academy’s table tennis development needs. He told the story of 11-year-old Keeara Whyte participating in an online training camp last year who required two hours of internet access weekly for eight weeks so she could display her skills.

“I had to purchase data for my laptop so they could see her in training and it was a tidy cost to me so it is a big plus having the internet here and now I can use those funds for something else,” he explained.

Other players, such as Davidson’s daughter, Kelsey, who represents Jamaica and St Jago High, said the internet will help with training in real time.

“If I need to learn a new serve, it is easy to go on the internet while I’m in the middle of training and look at YouTube videos to learn the technique faster,” said Kelsey.

Le-Anna Smith, another national player and St Jago High student, said the internet access at training will allow her to optimise her time and juggle both training and schoolwork.

“I am doing 16 subjects and I have homework for most of them so having the internet at the academy is very helpful as I can take a few minutes while at training to work on my assignments. The internet will also help me with table tennis training. There are many videos online I can watch to learn from other players and practice at the same time while in training,” said Smith.

The internet’s far-reaching impact and benefits can be seen in all areas of life – from sports, to academics and social development. The Flow Foundation is committed to enabling Jamaicans towards their goals through the promotion and facilitation of digital inclusivity for all.

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