Youth development, one megabyte at a time | Sports


RICHARD DAVIDSON, president and coach of the Angels Table Tennis Academy in Spanish Town, has ambitious plans for the academy and the youngsters who use it. Since its inception in 2010, the facility has produced several national players and has been a vital recreation center for surrounding communities.

Having realized the importance of the facility, Richardson has recently added music and chess lessons and is in the process of establishing a homework center at the academy. It was then that he contacted the FLOW Foundation to help him achieve his goals of impacting more young people through readily available internet access.

“Our plan is to open the facility up to the community because there are a lot of homes that don’t have internet access, and we want our kids to have internet to do their research and do their homework. It is therefore a big plus, not only for the academy, but also for the community. Any kid who doesn’t have internet at home can come to the academy and have access to it,” Davidson pointed out.

The FLOW Foundation donated the Wi-Fi infrastructure, which will enable fast and reliable connections and facilitate multiple users simultaneously. Davidson added that the internet will also benefit the academy’s table tennis development needs.

He told the story of 11-year-old Keeara Whyte attending an online boot camp last year. Whyte, he said, needed two hours of internet access a week for eight weeks to show off his skills.

“I had to buy data for my laptop so they could see her in training, and that was very expensive. So it’s a big plus to have internet here, and now I can use those funds for something else,” he explained.

Other players, like Davidson’s daughter Kelsey, who represents Jamaica and St Jago’s High School, said the internet would make it easier to practice in real time.

“If I need to learn a new skill, it’s easy to go online while I’m practicing and watch YouTube videos to learn the technique faster,” Kelsey said.

Le-Anna Smith, another national player and student at St Jago High, said having internet access in training would allow her to optimize her time and juggle training and schoolwork.

“I do 16 subjects and I have homework for most of them. So having the internet at the academy is very useful, because I can take a few minutes during the training to work on my homework. The internet will help me also to practice table tennis. There are many videos online that I can watch to learn from other players and practice during practice,” said Smith.


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