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Mar 28, 2014

3rd Annual Primary School Table Tennis Tournament

The third annual primary school table tennis competition was held today at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. Seven schools, sixty-four athletes and two hundred and fifty-six games later, the top four athletes were all of Saint Joseph Primary School. The competition is a part of the Belize Table Tennis Association’s goal to keep the sport alive. News Five was there for the games and spoke to President Arturo Vasquez who says that the association will have representation in an upcoming international outing.

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Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, President, Belize Table Tennis Association

“We started with seven schools, sixty-four entries of kids and we started with a double elimination this morning and then ended up with a top sixteen players; what you are seeing now is the semi-finals and finals. A total of two hundred and fifty six games played today…it’s quite a lot of games.”

 

Duane Moody

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez

“Tell us about the work you guys put in to reach to this point.”

 

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez.

“We started back in 2012 when the Belize Table Tennis Association started working on promoting table tennis in the primary schools.  We trained about fifteen table tennis coaches in the primary schools; we used teachers and then the association donated five tables to five primary schools along with rackets and balls and then you have schools like Belize Elementary here who has the tables and Hummingbird and Holy Redeemer who had tables at the time. So that’s how we started. The younger you start the better. I think the youngest here is nine years old and the oldest is nothing more than twelve. But in addition to this, we do a lot of junior tournaments; we do under-twelve under fifteen and under eighteen. That is usually the categories we use when it comes to the junior players, but for the primary schools this is quite a very good tournament. This is only sixty-four players because we had to limit it because we only have so much time during the day. But on an average right now we have about seventy-five to a hundred kids playing tennis.”

 

Duane Moody

“I know you guys have competitions like these on a regular basis to keep the sport alive. Tell us about that.”

 

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez.

“Well our calendar every year is about fifteen tournaments. There is twelve months in a year so we are having a tournament every four, five weeks and it varies—it varies by veteran tournaments, senior tournaments, junior tournaments, strong and week—meaning one strong player, one week player—we have the national championships in December every year; we have a team tournament that runs for about three or four months…we have first second and third division; that really takes a lot of table tennis there because it’s by teams.”

 

Duane Moody

“Is there any move to take the sport outside of the country; to compete internationally or anything of that sort?”

 

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez.

“We played in CODICADER in 2012 and this year, we are also going to Salvador in July to qualify for the Central American and the Caribbean Games. So really between last year and this year, it is where we are starting to head into these areas. With these kids reaching this level now, I think it is pretty good to take them out to the junior tournaments in Central America. I think we will start to stick to the Central American region right now. We have a player going to the Commonwealth Games in July. Tyrone Tun, who is our national champion, he will be going to the games in Glasgow.”

 

Aside from trophies, the top four players also got Dutch Lady packages courtesy of San Cas. 

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