MERLE Bhagoo felt that the executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Table Tennis Association (TTTTA) did not match her ambition, hence her decision to resign as president.
Bhagoo, who in April became the first woman to be elected as president of the TTTTA, stepped down from the post on Thursday. The TTTTA announced her resignation via a media release on Saturday.
During an interview, on Tuesday, Bhagoo said, “I was only in office for about five to six months. We were only now beginning to get into the groove of how we (had) to move this association forward.
“I was part of the concerned group who were not satisfied with the past administration (led by David Joseph). This was supposed to be like a new effort moving forward, and I had certain things in mind, from my manifesto, of how this association should go forward.
“It was my belief, or thought, that those on the administration were of the same incline, only to find out that I didn’t think so.”
Bhagoo, a member of the Queen’s Park Table Tennis Club, confirmed that it was her decision to relinquish the TTTTA post.
“It wasn’t as if anybody had asked me, but I felt a resentment of my presidency,” she acknowledged. “I felt that, many of the things that I was hoping that we all had in common, would have been able to move us forward. After a few months, I realised that there was quite a resistance and, also, they may have appeared to approve of ideas going forward, in my opinion, it was just lip-service.”
The remaining members of the TTTTA executive are Kevin Lewis (acting president), Richard Copeland (first vice-president), Bob Roopnarine (general secretary), Leah Fraser (assistant secretary), Dave Ramoutar (public relations officer) and Kenneth Parmanand (treasurer). Bhagoo expressed her disappointment that the executive members were not keen on organising programmes to have national players train, and keep fit, during this pandemic.
“One of my concerns is, in 2020, even though we were in covid, there are some things that we could have been doing, as long as we stayed within the protocols of the Health (Ministry),” she said. “We could have done some (sort) of national team training in small numbers. There were no tournaments in 2020 but now there are some. In order to get a team ready, we had to do some kind of national training.
“There was a planned programme put forward the day after school closed (in July) to get the elite players in each division to get into some sort of national training to be able to get them fit in case of any tournament coming up,” she continued. “That (was) something that seemed to be approved but never really endorsed. There were a lot of hurdles for that, in my view.
“If we cannot be active, even during covid, what is going to happen next year? Are we going to wait for when a tournament comes in March or April and start to train in February, after two years of being stagnated? That does not make any sense to me.”
According to Bhagoo, “I took a leave of absence a month ago and that gave me some time to even think further of where do I fit? One of the things that I thought about, and maybe it was too late to do that, was find out from the board what are the things we had in common, so we could have worked on that.
“When I look back now, in hindsight, I really don’t think we had much in common,” she added. “I see myself as a bad fit (for the executive) because we were not really agreeing on a lot of things and there was always some kind of turmoil.”
Bhagoo mentioned, “I have been playing table-tennis for 68 years, so I have had some experience. There are many sports that have been having some problems and I would have been able to assist in that way.”
She ended, “The chief point in my manifesto was to bring back some trust, integrity and governance. I believe if those things (were) able to be accomplished, then the sport would get back to the next level.”