From makeshift table to tennis champion, St Mary’s All Age

They started playing without a proper table.

However, through creativity and determination, St. Mary’s All Age School, located in the Above Rocks area of St Catherine, has become a force with which to reckon in table tennis.

Vice Principal, Jacquelin Brown-Hope, explained that it was Karl Simpson – now a retired educator, who first introduced the game to the students.

He later taught Maureen Nembhard – another teacher at the school.

The vice principal added: “Initially, Mr Simpson had to convert his desk by using a piece of ply board and a net for the children to play on.”

She further stated that, in 2007, representatives from the Table Tennis Association visited the school and were impressed with what they saw.

The school later formed a table tennis club.

St. Mary’s All Age has gone on to win the Primary/All Age League Competition for six consecutive years.

“They took a break in 2013, but roared back in 2014 to capture the title once more. This was again repeated in 2015,” the vice principal said.

“The school were runners-up in 2016 and 2017. However, they doubled their efforts and the school regained the championships title, beating Greater Portmore Primary in both the male and female categories. Presently, they are holders of the Primary/All Age Championship.”

A number of students from St. Mary’s All Age School, in the meantime, have gone on to represent Jamaica in table tennis.

Jhavel Smith represented the island in the Caribbean Championship held in Puerto Rico in 2014; Shantel Hughes did so in 2011.

Demar Williams, Tyrese Nembhard, Christina Smith and Shamoy Lamont were also successful in making the Jamaica team.

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