Veteran table tennis player David “Sky” Llewellyn, who was suspended by the disciplinary committee of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association (SVGTTA) from all tournaments under the national body’s aegis for one year, has expressed remorse.
Even prior to his suspension, which was made public by the SVGTTA on May 30, Llewellyn, who is based in New York, USA, had penned an apology to the executive of the national table tennis body.
Llewellyn and Sean Stanley were competing in the men’s final of the National Table Tennis championship on April 28, this year, at the West St George Secondary School, when a dispute over a “wet ball” turned into a verbal exchange between the two.
The subsequent bouts of arguments, triggered by the wet ball allegation, was in full view and earshot of some of the country’s most promising young table tennis players, which led to a probe by the disciplinary committee, and the players’ subsequent suspension.
Cognizant that he had let down the sport and himself, Llewellyn, immediately on his return to the USA, wrote the SVGTTA’s executive on May 3, offering an apology for his actions.
Llewellyn, though, while acknowledging his wrongs, noted that “a homophobic slur” about him by Stanley, triggered his reaction.
“I felt my reputation was in question… My accuser was making the situation embarrassing and detrimental to my career and character, Llewellyn stated in his letter of apology to the SVGTTA.
“My reaction was completely inappropriate – a huge lapse in judgement on my part, and for that, I extend to you all my sincerest of apologies… I apologize to all the young members for not demonstrating how a crisis can be handled without conflicting behaviours… I realize how strongly my actions or reactions could affect a young mind,” Llewellyn stated.
Llewellyn told SEARCHLIGHT that his behaviour, in the presence of the youths, was even more unbecoming, since he had brought some table tennis equipment for them.
“I can promise you with all my heart, that I will never give in to such behaviours again and hope that I can build up your trust in me again… I want you to feel confident, that I will continue to be a good role model and friend…. I can promise going forward to leave that kind of emotion at the door… You all have been part of my long Table Tennis/Sporting life and I want to continue sharing that unity,” Llewellyn expressed.
The veteran player also informed SEARCHLIGHT: “I am not angry… I have no problems with the association and their decision… They did what they thought was best in the situation… I stand by their decision”.
“ I am glad though, that finally the association is taking action against a defacto leader, who in every executive wants to dictate what must be, and should not be done,” Llewellyn stated.
He underscored that since the regrettable incident, he has moved on, but stated: “I hold nothing against Sean Stanley, I just don’t want to have anything to do with him”.
Llewellyn related that a medical encounter he experienced since the incident, shortly after his return to New York, has caused him to embrace humility more.
Llewellyn said that he has learnt from his mistakes and promised to do whatever he can to uphold the name of table tennis in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Whilst Llewellyn and Stanley have been banned from taking part in any SVGTTA tournaments for a year, Stanley has been relieved of the posts of chairman of the national selection committee, technical director and national coach.
Stanley was also required to issue an apology.