Wong looking for answers after exclusion from Olympic Qualifiers

Miguel Wong

Proud as he was of his fellow Guyanese, Miguel Wong was left with a heap of questions, after not being considered for the Latin American Table Tennis Olympic Qualifiers.

Back in 2019, Miguel Wong made the necessary sacrifices to attend a high intensity training in Germany, in order to better his Table Tennis skills.

The sacrifice was made with the Tokyo Olympics in mind, as Wong hoped he would make the cut to represent Guyana at the Qualifiers.

Fast forward to 2021, it was only last week that a four-member team jet off to Rosario, Argentina, where the participated in the Latin American Qualifiers.

Although the Titans Table Tennis club member is not critical of his fellow Guyanese who participated, the 20-year-old Wong is questioning his exclusion.

“Whenever there’s like a major game for table tennis or any other sport, you know, there should be a trial, to identify that Guyana will be represented at the top. Not just pick from these and these or pick without any selection criteria,” the player shared,

“They should have a trial, maybe three months before, so they can identify a proper team and work with the players as they go along.”

As he recounted the events leading up to the Olympic Qualifiers, Wong shared that he was never officially made aware that Guyana would be represented on the Regional stage.

“I had no knowledge about a team going to the qualification tournament, I only knew that the qualification tournament was on, because on social media the other players were already in training. So, I know it was on but I had no knowledge that Guyana was attending due to the situation,” Wong related.

“And then skip forward maybe two days before, I saw on Facebook or somewhere that Guyana was on their way to Argentina. No trials were kept, no other player was kept in the loop about what’s going on. They probably just made the decision in private I guess,” a saddened Wong shared.

On the other hand, Wong explained that by the time he processed what had happened, it made no use for him to reach out to the GTTA.

“No I didn’t make any contact, because the situation already passed, you know. I tried to be in touch with the President of the Association for a while but I wasn’t really getting hold of him, maybe he was a bit busy and stuff like that.”

Wong clarified, “Because we had other previous engagements in terms of the German camp and stuff like that.”

When contacted by this publication, Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) President Godfrey Munroe shared that the team was selected based on the National Championships which were hosted in February 2020, amongst other criteria.

Following up, this publication put forward the question of Wong’s non-inclusion, to which Munroe shared that he hasn’t broken into the Senior team performance wise as yet.

Though he was not able to compete at the National Seniors in 2020, owing to a training stint in Germany, Wong is the highest World ranked Guyanese male player at number 706 with 168 points. Additionally, the 20-year-old shared that he remained active throughout the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic while being stuck in Germany, where he featured in the German Open, Portugal Open and the Challengers Series in Germany.

According to Wong, he was also afforded the opportunity to train with players from Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala; many of whom were contenders for the Latin American Qualifiers.

The updated International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings, which is as of Week #16 for 2021, shows Guyana’s next ranked player as Shemar Britton who sits at 876 with 117 points.

In spite of his disappointment, Wong is optimistic about his recent qualification for the Pan American Junior Games, which he is committed to working with the GTTA and GOA to attend.

“Yesterday, a friend if mine from Barbados actually sent me a picture and told me I was selected for the Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia. I’m guessing my selection was based on World Ranking,” the Table Tennis player candidly shared.

“For the German camp, I took the initiative, I reached out to a few friends and with the help of Dwain Dick from my club, Mr Kumar and Mr King from Bistro, we made the trip possible. It was mainly funding from the private sector that gave me adequate help,” he said touching on the financial hurdles he has had to jump in order to better his game.
“For the Pan American games; it’s major sporting event, so it should be covered by the Guyana Olympic Association,”

“I will reach out to them (the GOA) and I will reach out to the GTTA.”

Further down the road, Wong hopes to return to Europe, after being scouted for a team there.

“I was scouted for a team for Austria,” he disclosed.

However, this particular development did not come immediately, as he had to return to Guyana, owing to the ongoing pandemic and financial constraints.