Girls’ tourney intended to spark interest

In the last two major Games, Table Tennis Yukon executives saw gaps in the female division draw sheets that could have been filled with Yukon players, had they had any.

In the last two major Games, Table Tennis Yukon executives saw gaps in the female division draw sheets that could have been filled with Yukon players, had they had any.

They don’t want a repeat of that when Whitehorse hosts the Arctic Winter Games this March.

To help make sure, Table Tennis Yukon is hosting a girls-only tournament this Saturday from 2:30-4 p.m. at Whitehorse Elementary (enter in the back).

“We’re looking to get some girls out to the club there that, perhaps, can be part of our Arctic Winter Games squad,” said Yukon head coach Kevin Murphy. “We want to see who’s out there and who’s interested, and start off the season trying to get people interested.”

The tournament is not the trials for Yukon’s table tennis team, which can house eight players and two coaches. Needed are two girls in the juvenile category (born in 1997 or later) and two in the junior category (born in 1994 or later).

Team Yukon had no female table tennis competitors attend the 2010 Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie or the Canada Winter Games in Halifax at the start of the year. The last major Games that female players attended was the 2008 Arctic Games in Yellowknife with a full squad of boys and girls competing.

“When we went to the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie we had no girls and when we got in there Alberta had, I think, one girl, Alaska had one girl,” said Murphy. “So many other contingents seemed to be having the same trouble as we did. Russia didn’t bring any juvenile players at all.

“Basically, if we had scooped up a couple girls and brought them down there, they had a chance to play for some medals.”

However, Murphy suspects other contingents made similar observations.

“We don’t anticipate it being that easy here in Whitehorse,” added Murphy. “All the contingents that were there two years ago know we have the same problem and the first to put forward a full team is going to have a reasonable shot at some medals.

“It’s cyclical the way some of these sports go.”

The tournament’s entry fee is $5. For more information contact Murphy at 668-2918 or Edna Knight at 633-3179.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com