With ambitions of successful representation and bringing home medals as soon as the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, a memorandum of understanding between Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ) and the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) was signed yesterday at the Sir John Golding Rehab Centre, located at Elleston Flats, St Andrew.A new chapter was written between local governing body for table tennis and the Paralympic community and signed by Godfrey Lothian and Christopher Samuda, the respective presidents.It will see TTJ provide coaching and training for Paralympic athletes with a view to seeing them transition to the international stage and, hopefully, win medals at the Paralympics in table tennis.Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Michael Fennell recalled that the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, while hosting the Pan American Games in 2007, was the first host to introduce the ParaPan Games.”Tokyo 2020, which I think you have set as one of your benchmarks, will be another important benchmark,” said Fennell, who warned that while the Games are four years away, planning is needed.FORMAL AGREEMENT”We are here to celebrate the signing and formalising of the agreement between the Jamaica Table Tennis Association and the Paralympic Association, and for this to have the meaning from this formal document it requires participation,” Fennell urged.Meanwhile, this summer, Brazil will showcase the Olympic Games in August and the Paralympic Games in September.”I am sure it will be amazing for Jamaican athletes Olympics and Paralympics for the records and medals that you already have collected in this country,” said Brazilian Ambassador to Jamaica Carlos den Hartog.The JPA president, Samuda, said: “It is a partnership, ladies and gentlemen, that will, under the Road to Tokyo campaign, create a pathway for Paralympians to realise potential, fulfil their ambitions, and fuel their aspirations.”Samuda described the Sir John Golding Rehab Centre-based programme as a “centre of excellence”.The TTJ’s, president, Godfrey Lothian, said that “table tennis should be played anywhere and everywhere,” adding that “everybody should play table tennis”.”We will be putting some of our best coaches here because whenever you see people coming off the plane, it’s not just going to be our able-bodied athletes coming in with medals from athletics, but you’re going to see our Paralympians and others who will be mobilised across the country with table tennis medals,” he stated.
“I think it’s very important that we just put a safety net under our troops,” said Webb, a former Vietnam veteran and Navy secretary. The bill attracted three dozen co-sponsors, including Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon. In July, a similar measure fell just shy of the 60 needed to advance, and additional Republicans said they were considering it. But momentum behind the bill stalled Wednesday after Sen. John Warner, R-Va., announced that he decided the consequences would be disastrous. Warner, a former longtime chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had voted in favor of the measure in July but said he changed his mind after talking to senior military officials. Without more Republican support, Democrats are unlikely to pass other war-related measures. In coming days, the Senate planned to vote on legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would order combat troops home in nine months. Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said his bill would allow some troops to remain behind to conduct such missions as counterterrorism and training the Iraqis; he estimated the legislation, if enacted, would cut troop levels in Iraq by more than half.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IRAQ: Measure that would regulate the length of troops’ tours fails to get 60 votes. By Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Senate blocked legislation Wednesday that would have balanced the amount of time troops spent in combat, a blow for Democrats struggling to challenge President Bush’s Iraq policies. The 56-44 vote was four votes short of reaching the 60 needed to cut off debate. It was the second time in as many months that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., was sidetracked. In July, a similar measure fell four votes short of advancing. Failure of the bill was a sound defeat for Democrats, who have been unable to pass significant anti-war legislation by a veto- proof majority since taking control of Congress in January. Webb’s measure was seen as having the best chance at attracting the 60 votes needed to pass because of its pro-military premise. The bill would have required that troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Members of the National Guard or Reserve would be guaranteed three years at home before being sent back. Most Army soldiers now spend about 15 months in combat with 12 months home.