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Nov 17, 2016

Belize Hosts Regional Table Tennis Tournament

There is an ongoing table tennis competition in Belize. Players from neighboring countries in Central America except for Nicaragua are competing in the 2016 Central American Senior Table Tennis Championships. The level of competition is fierce against Belize, but the local association, says Team Belize is up to it. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Athletes from a number of countries within Central America are gathered in Belize City to compete in a four-day table tennis tournament.  Hosted by the Belize Table Tennis Association, the competition got underway on Wednesday morning at the SCA auditorium.  According to Arturo Vasquez, the only country not represented this year is Nicaragua.


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez, President, Belize Table Tennis Association

“What we have here today is the 2016 Central American Senior Table Tennis Championships.  But by senior we don’t mean older in age, we mean it’s like an open.  This is the championship; this is all ages, the best in Central America.  We have all countries here, including Mexico.  The only country missing is Nicaragua who could not make this event.  So there are seven countries involved here.”


There are at least five categories for senior players to participate in and despite hosting the games, Team Belize is up against fierce competition.  Vasquez says that the focus for the local table tennis association has been on junior athletes.


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

“We have team competition, men’s doubles, ladies doubles, mix doubles, men’s singles and ladies’ singles.  So it’s all the events.”


Isani Cayetano

“How does Belize measure up to the competition in terms of some of the athletes who are here from other countries?”


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

“Pretty good question Isani.  Really, the Belize team is a very young team.  We have two players that are eleven-years-old and Belize has the youngest team here but the Table Tennis Association actually has been concentrating on the junior players and really what we have decided here is to put out our young players that are coming up.  The competition that we have in this room are the best in Central America, so I won’t say that we can’t win but I will say that the challenges are a little difficult but I have seen this morning that we have actually won several matches.”


What’s different about this year’s games is the venue where the tournament is being held.  While the Belize Elementary School auditorium is the home of table tennis, adjustments had to be made in order to meet international requirements.


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

“I have a lot of trust in the local players and I am sure that they will give us a good show.  And who knows, they may even take out some of the countries.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now what accounts for the change of venue?  I notice that you guys are here at the SCA auditorium, as opposed to the home court, as I would call it, at the Belize Elementary Gymnasium.”


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

“The plans were for the Belize Elementary auditorium because that’s really the home of table tennis.  But if you can see the lights, this place is a whole lot better and this event is an international level event so there are certain requirements that are required and the lighting is one.  Unfortunately, we could not get the lights in at Belize Elementary as early as we wanted it and in the end we had to switch over to Saint Catherine.  But of course BES is still our home.  This is a pretty good venue, as you can see.  It gives us a bit more space, so it has really been a plus moving over here for this sort of event.  This is an international event and as I said, there’s a whole lot that is required.”


There’s also an appeal to fans of table tennis to come out and support their favorite teams and athletes.


Arturo ‘Tux’ Vasquez

“I would want the Belizean public to come out.  Unfortunately, a lot of people are working but of course these games will continue up to about eight o’clock at night.  So after you are finished with work I would ask that you come out, support the team, support the event.  Support Belize as a host for this international event.  So there’s a whole lot of reasons for it.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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