JTTA denies Tomlinson's claim that leaving him off Commonwealth Games team is a "personal attack"

By Sports Desk July 28, 2022

The Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) on Wednesday issued a statement explaining the decision by its Managing Council to omit many-time national champion Simon Tomlinson from the team for the 2022 Commonwealth Games beginning on Thursday in Birmingham.

Tomlinson described the omission as a “personal attack” in an interview with Television Jamaica Sports on Tuesday.

“The managing council of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) categorically denies any allegations of a personal attack on Simon Tomlinson by the JTTA President, Mr. Andrew Lue, and refutes any defamatory reports that may suggest same,” the statement said.

The statement continues: “The decision to withdraw Mr. Tomlinson from the 2022 Commonwealth Games came as a result of his lack of preparation for the Commonwealth Games, his March withdrawal from the 2022 Caribbean Championships in Cuba and his non-participation in the recent National Championships and was made by the council in the interest of the sport of Table Tennis in Jamaica and the JTTA Managing Council stands by its decision.”

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    The Jamaica Table Tennis Association is kickstarting their effort to resurrect the sport in the country from the ground up with the hosting a one-day rally for Preparatory and Primary Schools on Monday, June 24 at the Excelsior High School.

    The rally, put on with support from the Sports Development Foundation and Optical Solutions International Limited, will include a total of 27 teams from 18 schools, an increase from last year’s 13 schools.

    “This year I am overjoyed. We have never had such a vast turnout,” said Jamaica Table Tennis Association President, Ingrid Graham.

    “We have over 150 young Table Tennis players who will be participating. It is way more than I expected. The children and coaches are overjoyed. This is something that has been in the making for a long time and it is showing you the positive way forward that Table Tennis is back, we’re alive and we’re here to stay,” she added.

    Prior to last year’s staging, the tournament wasn’t held since 2019.

    Graham told Sportsmax.tv on Saturday about the importance of having this tournament to foster the development of the country’s young players.

    “Last year we decided that we have to get it going again because all of our juniors, they have moved up to senior level and some maybe stopped playing,” she said.

    “We had to do that in order to encourage the sport in the schools and the development of Table Tennis moving forward,” she added.

    Graham says this commitment to youth development goes beyond the sport of Table Tennis.

    “It is very important to give these young people a chance in life whether it’s in sports or academics or whatever area they choose. Sometimes they are going through some phases in their lives and they are not able to speak to their parents or guardian in the way that they would speak to us. So, reaching out to these youngsters, we are trying to say that there are so many things you can do. We are trying to steer them away from the path of going negative and towards something positive,” she said.

    “We are trying to create avenues that will provide for our youngsters. We have quite a number of kids involved in Table Tennis now who are from the inner city. They don’t have it like that so it’s hard on us as an Association to help them in the capacity that we would like to help them but we are trying to do our best in that aspect and to guide them in the right path of development,” she added.

    Other sponsors for Monday’s event include Supersonic Table Tennis Club, Kingston & St. Andrew Table Tennis Association, Western Sports, Skills Unlimited Table Tennis Academy, American Jewellery, GraceKennedy, Graham International and GEWO Jamaica.

     

     

  • “Nothing is unreachable”: Graham honoured to be first ever female JTTA President “Nothing is unreachable”: Graham honoured to be first ever female JTTA President

    On May 25, 2024, Ingrid Graham made history as the first ever female to be elected as President of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association.

    Graham secured 14 votes compared to 10 received by her opponent Colette Palmer at the elections held at the Sports Development Foundation in Kingston.

    “It’s really a great honour to be in that capacity,” Graham told Sportsmax.tv in an interview this week.

    “It just tells to show our young ladies that the sky is the limit and nothing is unreachable to them as long as the interest is there and they love it and have a passion for it,” she added.

    The journey to get to this point was not without its ups and downs according to the President.

    “It was a strenuous journey and a tiresome one. Sometimes you think of giving up but when I look back on all the children and young ladies and the development of Table Tennis and where it really has taken them, I decided to continue,” she said.

    Graham got right to work after winning the election with her immediate attention going to organizing trials to select Jamaica’s teams to the Caribbean Mini and Pre-Cadet Championships set for July 1-7 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

    “In the one week that I was in office I was tasked with basically putting on a trial for the Under-11 and Under-13 Pre and Mini Cadets who should be going to the Dominican Republic from June 29.”

    Graham says she has also reached out to a number of players and entities to try and send the “excellent” team of youngsters to the tournament.

    “The good thing about this set is that we have five children on this team who are from the inner city and they are very talented. They love this sport and they put in their everything they have,” she said.

    In addition to planning those trials, which were held at the Excelsior High School, Graham says her and her team are currently planning a one-day rally for Prep and Primary Schools.

    “We have not had a proper competition since 2019. Last year, myself, Skills Unlimited Table Tennis Academy (SUTTA), the Kingston and St Andrew Table Tennis Association (KSATTA), and Supersonic Table Tennis Club and the JTTA, we all came together and hosted a one-day rally which was excellent and well supported by the schools. We even had sponsors come on board last minute to assist us,” she said.

    “We’re doing the same thing this year. We’re currently planning that and I have to be seeking funding and resources for the team to leave on June 29 for the Pre and Mini cadet,” Graham added.

    While admitting that a lot of work needs to be done, she remains confident that her and her team will be able to get the job done.

    “It can happen and it will happen. It’s a lot of work but once the structures are in place and persons are dedicated to the cause, we will get there,” she said.

    That team consists of First Vice President Andrea Murray, Second Vice President Simon Lei, General Secretary Sean Wallace and Treasurer David White. Wallace will be assisted by Konata Beluchi while White be assisted by Mark Edwards and Errol Howlett.

    The Council members include former national champion Simon Tomlinson, current national champion Mark Phillips, Matthew Dawson, Kevin Peterkin and Lisette Wilson.

    “We have a diverse team. We have persons in the field of media, accounting, persons who operate their own businesses. We are aiming for positive output, unity, transparency and accountability,” she said.

    “We want the entire Jamaica to know that whatever we’re tasked with, we’re going to fulfil it. Each sponsor that comes on board, they will get a report of players participation as well as documentation of hos the resources were spent,” Graham added.

     

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    Reflecting on the previous year's performance, the JTTA highlighted the achievements of Jamaican players who secured two silver medals in the U13 Boys event and three bronze medals in the U13 Boys event at the 2023 championships. The association is hopeful that this year's team will build on that success and bring home even more medals.

    The JTTA is confident that the selected players, with their dedication and hard work, will make Jamaica proud at the Caribbean Mini and Pre-Cadet Championships. The association is also excited about the new direction and leadership under President Ingrid Graham, who is expected to bring fresh energy and vision to the organization.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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