GTTA progressing with implementation of Guyana’s TT Pink Pongsters “My Gender My Strength” programme

The programme was launched last year based on the Guyana Table Tennis Association’s (GTTA’s) project proposal for the 2021 edition of “My Gender My Strength.”
This is a member association assistance programme for women’s development in table tennis. It has been selected by the International Table Tennis Federation among several globally submitted projects, and as one of the association’s programmes proposed to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of Guyana. It is the National Sports Commission’s Nursery Academy programme, which seeks to synchronise activities at the nursery and cadet levels of sports, thus creating a foundation for our nation’s athletes as they progress in their disciplines.
“Besides our main objectives of ITTF, ‘My Gender My Strength’ programme, which is increasing female participation in table tennis on and off the court, and strengthening position of women and girls from players to leaders in our sport, we would like to also raise awareness of the importance of gender balance in the MA sports structures, therefore, we support MAs in developing women’s table tennis locally,” the GTTA said in a release.
The National Project of the Guyana Table Tennis Association is one of six projects selected in the Americas, and it is hoped that the initiative would enhance long-term benefits, leave behind the legacy and make a positive impact on women’s table tennis development in Guyana, said
Katarzyna Kubas, Head of Development, International Table Tennis Federation.

The implementation has been progressing over the last few weeks, with Coach Xen Goliath working at the Beterverwagting Primary School with students from the BV community, where over 15 students are engaged. Coach Shavin Green is working in Linden at the Mackenzie High School, where over 10 students are engaged. Coach Candacy McKenzie, ITTF Level One coach, and development officer at the Malteenoes Sports Club and the East Bank with over 35 students, and Coach Linden Johnson working with the regional schools.
Through a series of sessions, the girls are learning all the basics necessary to enjoy a great game of table tennis; keeping active, socialising, developing hand/eye coordination, education sessions and motivational engagement by national players and key figures such as Olympian Chelsea Edghill, developing core skills, engaging in friendly competitive activities, and generally having a great time.
Every session will consist of a warm-up, some off-the-table activities, on-the-table exercises, and fun games. The focus is on FUN TT. they will quickly learn to love the great game of table tennis.
The plan is to continue this key initiative, as, over the next few months, orientation sessions utilising the services of our ITTF-trained coaches in regions to coach our students in the fundamental aspect of the games for a minimum of 9 hours weekly over the period of 3 months in 2022, observing all COVID-19 protocols.
The “Pink Pongsters” would also receive their very own bag, holding everything they need to get started – including their very own Guyana TT Pink Pongsters Kidz T-shirt, bat, balls, and activity book/sticker album.

Guyana Context
The programme Guyana’s TT Pink Pongsters “My Gender My Strength” provides the unique opportunity for the GTTA, in partnership with key stakeholders, to establish a programme that is specifically geared and targeted towards the establishment of a national talent-identification programme catering for girls actively participating in the sport of table tennis in Guyana.
Guyana has enjoyed a fair measure of success at the regional and international level with female players/teams very many years. The likes of Barbara Jekir, Hodiah and Carol Davidson, Francine Abrams, Bertnell Richards, Chelsea Edghill, Trenace Lowe, Natalie Cummings, Jodyann Blake and Michelle John, among many others, have done well for Guyana at the international level. However, this is not as a result of any unique, strategic, established or targeted programme implemented by the association, but rather through an ad-hoc system.
It is therefore believed that the institution and implementation of a national talent identification programme that offers training opportunities for young girls would provide the catalyst for participation of more females in the sport of table tennis, leading to the provision of competitive advantage to Guyana in regional competitions in future years to come.
The ITTF’s My Gender My Strength is an annual ITTF developmental programme which seeks to enhance and advance women’s participation in table tennis by supporting ambitious and creative national projects designed for female players, coaches, match officials, administrators, or managers. It ensures maximum women’s participation, combined with high quality and benefits for women’s development in table tennis. It shares sports spirit and highlight a gender balance matter.
The recent success of national table tennis player Chelsea Edghill at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, the selection of Guyana’s women’s team for the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan South Korea, and the team’s performance in four consecutive quarterfinals at the Commonwealth Games among other key performances highlights the opportunities available.