The key to this new initiative is a recently signed agreement of co-operation and solidarity, between the St. Kitts & Nevis Table Tennis Association, SKNTTA, which is aimed at creating training programs for sporting and cultural exchanges, said an association spokesperson.
Juan Vila, President of the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation (FDTM) and Vice- President of the Latin America of Table Tennis Union, signed the agreement with the St Kitts and Nevis Table Tennis Association.
“Playing table tennis, it’s a way of keeping young people meaningfully occupied”, said Juan VILA, “I foresee this initiative with SKNTTA as the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation providing a home for table tennis to my English-speaking brothers and sisters whose desire is to develop their athletes’ potential.”
Following both countries participation in the ITTF-LATTU Championships held in Guadalajara, Mexico, the St Kitts and Nevis contingent was hosted by the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation from June 2nd 2011 for a few days prior to their return to St Kitts. During the short stay, Juan Vila provided the team coach Calvin Lake and Kevin Hope, the SKNTTA Technical Director with a study visit to one of the several table tennis training centres on the island, while explaining the Dominican Republic’s table tennis development program.
“The Dominican Republic has an abundance of table tennis talents. A delegation of eight junior players under the age 12 years will participate in an annual 14 day training camp in the Dominican Republic. Full hospitality, access to the national table tennis training centre and coaches will be provided by the host country.
The delegation will be accompanied by two local coaches to gain the knowledge and experience’’ explained Kevin Hope. “Similarly, the SKNTTA is expected to host coaches from the Dominican Republic periodically to assist with its development program and national training camps.”
“Juan Vila is truly a regionalist who has opened the door for the table tennis players of the Anglophone Caribbean to immerse themselves into a different culture and language, while at the same time engage in training camps and regional competitions. Such exchanges are expected to strengthen the historic bond between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean” added Kevin Hope.
Undoubtedly, the standard of table tennis in St Kitts and Nevis is expected to improve in the near future, said an executive of the SKNTTA.