Table Tennis is Philippines' best bet for world medals - Ledesma
MANILA, Philippines - There’s little fanfare that accompanies the sport of ping-pong, but Table Tennis Association of the Philippines president Ting Ledesma believes it’s a perfect fit for Filipinos.
Ledesma, a former national player, believes the sport he made his name in is the Philippines’ best shot at winning gold medals in various international competitions like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, World Championships and the Olympics.
Ledesma has worked to inject life into the dying sports association since he took charge as president in 2012, when he began to go nationwide and visit different table tennis clubs to give away rubbers, racquet woods, and even held coaching and umpire seminars.
“Since I was a little kid, I played ping-pong most of the time and considered it my life,” said the 41-year-old Ledesma. “I grew up with this sport and nevertheless traded it to anything. I never dreamed to become the leader of this sport. I just really wanted to play for our country.
“Maybe it’s my destiny to be a sports leader and now I have to do my job."
From Iloilo to the slum areas of Metro Manila, Ledesma has emerged from poverty to become one of the country’s successful sports leaders supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippines Sports Commission.
Ledesma, who is also anestablished businessman, started playing table tennis when he was six. After a few years, the sport became Ledesma’s bread and butter.
To start 2014, TATAP will organize a national junior selection in March for its grassroots development programs and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Philippine World Pro Tour this May in SUBIC for a worldwide promotion.
“We are very happy to announce that TATAP is holding two important events this year to promote the sport we love,” said Ledesma, hoping that TATAP will also improve the bronze medal production they achieved last Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar last year.
Veteran Richard Gonzales, 42, won the bronze during the biennial meet.
The table tennis national team is composed of Richard Gonzales, Andrew Timson, Ian Lariba, Jamaica Sy, Sendrina Muse Balatbat, Princess Tambo and Anabelle Comendador and coaches Lauro Crisostomo, Noel Gonzales and Lorie Jawad.
Meanwhile, Ledesma is expecting that the upcoming Philippine Open Challenge Pro Tour will attract more than 500 participants from different parts of the country and to be participated also by some foreign participants. - Rappler.com