February 10, 2006


The schools’ Table Tennis Initiative for primary schools in Kingstown which began in October last year is already netting results.

Ten -year old Elisha Mc Dowald of the Kingstown Preparatory School (KPS) has been described by national table tennis coach Sean Stanley as an “exceptional talent”.{{more}}

Stanley said that she possesses many of the basic shots for the sport and at her age this augurs well for the future of table tennis in the state.

“I haven’t seen anyone at her age with such an array of shots for a beginner,” Stanley remarked.

“She is quick to learn and masters skills quite easily,” he boasted.

Stanley pointed out that of the 215 persons from the KPS in the programme, Elisha has shown the highest skill level.

Stanley said that although she is still at a tender age, she has already been identified for specialised training.

The bashful Grade 6 student who has been playing the sport for four months said she practises four times per week.

Preparing to write the Common Entrance Examinations in June, Elisha revealed that she takes Wednesdays and Saturdays to concentrate on her school work. On those days she gets to up her competence in favourite subjects “Mathematics and English”.

Having only tried her hand at netball before, Elisha has found her new found talent to be “fun and very interesting”, and has her eyes set on representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the shortest available opportunity.

With parental support coming from Astor and Ronson Mc Dowald, the Belair resident, though pleased with her current achievement, plans to strive for greater heights in the sport.

She has the forehand as the strong point in her growing repertoire of strokes.

The KPS has made table tennis mandatory on its Physical Education Programme.

The sport got a shot in the arm last year with the five-month stint of ITTF certified coach Egyptian Ahmed Dawlatly. During that period Dawlatly trained local coaches to carry on the task of teaching table tennis to persons, especially students between age 7 and 11.

Former national singles champion, Joseph Carrington is one of two coaches conducting the programme with the schools in the Kingstown area.

And Stanley is buoyant with the heightened interest in the sport since his association has had the use of the old Government Printery building.

He said this has revitalised the sport, with renewed participation from several students from the St. Vincent Grammar School among others.