Table Tennis Federation welcomes 227th member: Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands were officially accepted as a member of the International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday, November 24 at the 2021 Annual General Meeting held in Houston, becoming the 227th member.
The President of the Falkland Islands Table Tennis Association is Cecil Alexander and was interviewed on the ITTF website on March 1, where he revealed his avowed aim was to promote the sport of table tennis. “Plans are in place to hold national tournaments with the aim of identifying talented players who can progress to compete at international level.”
As for the history of sport in the Falklands, “a table tennis club started a few years ago, relaunched in January 2019 by Mark Nightingale, the head of sports development at the time, and myself. The center local recreation had two tables which were used for table tennis club evenings, this is where three players came out of
to represent the country at the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar”.
However, the number of table tennis players in the islands continues to improve every year, efforts are directed towards the continued growth of the sport.
“We continue to invite people to club nights and tournaments, we use posts on our community social media page, local newspaper and TV channel to cover some of our events. We are also aiming to create our own Facebook page soon, while we also plan to have a junior program.”
“The table tennis club has its own robot and two tables, rackets and balls, the leisure center also has two tables. The club night is organized on the squash court because it is difficult to find a niche in the gym. A new sports facility is being built which will allow more space and accessibility to a larger venue. There is hope that this facility will be completed in 2023. We will need more tables once we have a bigger venue”
“There has been good attendance since the relaunch of club night in January 2019. Due to the small population and a wide variety of sports available to all, it is difficult to keep players and they pass easily from one sport to another. Joining the ITTF in 2021 provides access to international tournaments and development assistance. It is also to be recognized as a country and our independence”.
“We hope that three athletes comprising two men and one para-athlete will be accepted through the bipartite invitation system for the Commonwealth Games later this year in Birmingham. We have applied for ITTF Americas membership. We have a women’s national tournament and a men’s national tournament. In addition, we have launched a league and have a junior program for students aged 12 to 16”.
“Additionally, we plan to send a team of five players to the Guernsey Island Games in 2023, hopefully this will be the first time we have sent female players. We look forward to development support from the ITTF and, in addition to the Commonwealth Games, I hope you will see us competing in international events in 2023”.
However, in line with the ITTF ideal of “Table Tennis for All, for Life”, efforts are focused on promoting table tennis in the islands, inspiring more players to embrace the sport.