The sport of table tennis is in safe hands with 11- year-old Chloe Fraser leading the charge of the next generation of talented athletes from this region. Since holding a racket for the first time at the Petrotrin Club in 2017, Fraser is yet to be separated much to the delight of her ever-present and supportive parents, Leah and Ernest.
Showing a keen interest in sport from an early age allowed Chloe to tag along with her two older sisters in playing badminton. Unfortunately, the journey was short-lived despite showing a high-level of proficiency in that sport. As the saying goes, “everything happens for a reason”, and this was so for Chloe because she joined the Petrotrin Sports Club to play table tennis recreationally and because of her competitive genes, she began participating in tournaments.
The assiduous player told Newsday Kids, “The sport is fun, with plenty of exercise.” When asked what she loved most about table tennis, she said, “The competition aspect of it and getting to meet new people all over the world.”
Chloe, who is most times short of words because of her shyness, let her racket do all the talking since her involvement in the sport. She registered a phenomenal 2019 season inclusive of achievements nationally and regionally even venturing into higher age-groups. She wrapped up four under-11, five under-13, an under-15 titles and a bronze medal in the women`s singles event. She also teamed up with her Queen`s Park clubmates 14-year-old Imani Edwards-Taylor, also an upcoming player, and 73-year old veteran Merle Baggoo to lift the Open Third Division title. Chloe has accomplished a great deal but her most illustrious achievement, so far, was qualifying for the International Table Tennis Federation’s Hopes 2019/2020 project which is a talent identification programme.
However, Chloe, who lives in Cocoyea Village, San Fernando, is focussed as a standard five student of Mon Repos RC on the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam with the intention of passing for Naparima Girls’ High School. She is grateful her mother is at home so she doesn’t need extra lessons, especially now that SEA may take place in May. Schools have been closed because of the coronavirus until April 20 during the term when the exam was to due to take place on April 2. Practising for her favourite sport is also likely to be on hold as sports events have been cancelled.
Interviewed before these changes were announced, Chloe said she had found a way to balance her busy time-table of being a student-athlete. She said, “It is not really difficult, my weekly schedule depends on if I have test at school but I usually train three times per week.”
Chloe believes athletes shouldn’t abandon sporting activities to prepare for exams because they help to relieve stress.
Whenever time permits, she enjoys watching television shows Bob Hearts Abishola, Loud House, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan as well as going to the pool with friends. As confirmed by her parents, she has a hefty appetite for such a small person and she will always make time for a meal. Even more so, once roast pork, noodles, fried rice and chow mein, ‘buss up shut’ and all curried meats are on the menu.
The skillful right-handed player possesses the wisdom of the game of table- tennis beyond her years and she has set her benchmark. “I want to make it to the Olympics one day!”