Table Tennis 2012 World Cadet Challenge

(Hagatna, Guam), Oct 30, 2012: The African contingent entered the University of Guam Fieldhouse on 30th October 2012, leading the parade of 34 nations into the opening ceremonies of the 2012 World Cadet Challenge. Their peers also the best cadet table tennis players in their countries followed: Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Oceania, World Hopes, and the host Guam.

The umpires and referees from across the globe followed. Indigenous performing arts group Pa’a Taotao Tano sounded the conch, chanted, and sang to the delegations.

“We are so excited to be here for the opening and to officially start the tournament,” Guam First Lady Christine Calvo told the crowd. “I am honored to be in the same room with world athletes. Guam is so proud to share this day with you.”

The players, coaches, managers, and officials were beaming. Today marks the first day of the competitions. The matchups were determined during an open draw Monday afternoon. Photos of the draw are attached. Photos from the opening ceremonies will follow this release.

Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo spoke to the delegations and to the global audience watching via web stream on “We welcome all those watching from every continent of the world. It’s an honor to host this spectacle. We’re a small tropical island and although we have a diverse population, this is the first time we’ve been able to host people from this many countries spanning every continent but Antarctica. We considered it a long shot when we went to Germany and asked to host this event, with only a video of Guam. I bet it looked like special effects on that video with the sunrises and sunsets, but that’s what we wake up to and live through every day, and you can see that now that you’re here.”

International Table Tennis Federation Executive Vice President Petra Sorling of Sweden talked about the importance of the World Cadet Challenge and why the ITTF places such an emphasis on it: “The World Cadet Challenge was introduced in 2002 with this special continental challenge. They are a way for young people from all over the world to meet each other. It is my honor to extend my warmest sincere welcome to all of you. To the players, coaches, and officials, I wish you all the best.”

This is not only a first for Guam, this is a first for the region. The World Cadet Challenge has never been hosted in Oceania. Oceania Table Tennis Federation President Patrick Gillman said he is particularly proud the region is playing host to the event. He hopes to see the event in the future in other parts of Oceania as well by learning from the successful coordination that went into the Guam event. “I’m very happy today. And I’m proud because it’s the first time Oceania is hosting the Challenge and it is happening in Guam. We have to congratulate Guam and applaud them for this. This event was organized thanks to the government of Guam, ITTF, and OTTF. I thank the Governor and First Lady of Guam who supported this 200 percent. Enjoy the warmth of friends and the Pacific sky. Thank you, Guam!”

Guam Table Tennis Federation President James Ji anchored the list of speakers by thanking everyone involved and the sponsors. Governor Calvo was then asked to open the challenge officially: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the International Table Tennis Federation Guam 2012 World Cadet Challenge!” the Governor proclaimed. “Let the games begin!”

The crowd roared, the music played, and the competitions are now underway. —- ITTF

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