TABLE TENNIS will make noise in 2015. This was no less than the battle cry of the Table Tennis Association of the Philippines (TATAP) through its President Ting C. Ledesma after the national sports association recently bared its big plans for the coming year.
TATAP is targeting no less than gold medals in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore from June 5 to 16. This time, the Philippines will be represented by a full contingent that will compete in all seven events, a far cry from the one male and one female entry from two years ago in Burma (Myanmar).
The country’s top singles player Richard Gonzales will return for another tour of duty. The 43-year old Cebuano hopes to improve on the Men’s Singles bronze medal he took home from Burma and will be joined by Rodel Valle, Isaias Seron, Glen Nayre and 16-year old Nash Jacolo.
In the distaff side, Ian Lariba will also return along with a promising group composed of Nene Fadol, Princess Tambo, Sendrina Balatbat and Jamaica Sy. Coaching the women’s team is Noel Gonzales while Lauro Crisostomo will handle the men.
As part of the national paddlers’ buildup for the SEA Games, they will compete in the prestigious GAC Group World Tour Philippine Open Challenge series from May 27 to 31 at Subic Bay. Now on its second year, the event is expected to attract the biggest names from the international scene, including several players ranked in the world Top Ten as they vie for USD 45,000.00 in prizes.
The said event is part of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour where participants will earn points which they will use to qualify for the grand finale later this year. The Philippine team will also be sent to the ITTF QOROS World Championships in China from April 26 to May 3 in Zuzhou, China.
On the local front, the TATAP is also organizing the inaugural Super League, a tournament composed of teams representing various local government units set to open within the first trimester of the year in Metro Manila. It is hoped that a new batch of talents will be discovered and developed from the said tournament.
Aside from developing players, TATAP will also conduct seminars for coaches. Corporate social responsibility programs will also be undertaken in the form of teaching table tennis to disaster-hit areas, underprivileged youth and those in prison with the possibility of introducing the sport as therapy or as a possible source of income.
Slowly but surely recovering from a protracted struggle for control of the organization in the last few years, the TATAP is now very ready to reassume its position as one of the premier national sports associations. A gold medal in Singapore will definitely put a stamp of approval on the leadership of President Ledesma and his colleagues.