FIFTY secondary schools across Guyana will soon receive table tennis equipment, compliments of the People’s Republic of China through its embassy here in Guyana.Each school will receive one tennis table and a variety of equipment and items for children to learn the game and develop their skills. The 50 tables are part of a larger sum of 160 that will be distributed to schools across the education districts.The initial items were handed over today in the compound of the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD), Kingston.President of Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), Godfrey Munroe, said that the activity is as a result of many hours of negotiations, hard work and formal collaborative effort and engagement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China through its embassy in Guyana and the Government of Guyana, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GTTA and the Guyana Olympic Association.He said that the initiative is geared towards developing student-athletes, supporting the development of the sport of table tennis in Guyana as part of the development of friendships, bonds and relationships between the peoples of Guyana and China.Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, His Excellency Cui JianchunAccording to Munroe, the donation forms part of a Memorandum of Understanding and ongoing support between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the GTTA which includes provision of high-level coaching to national players, provision of equipment support to schools, training of Guyanese coaches and provision of support for building of a home for the sport.Minister of Education, Dr Hon. Nicolette Henry said that the Ministry of Education stands resolute in conferring with all external partners, agencies and associations that extend benevolence to the up-building and strengthening of the education system.Minister Henry noted that the donation of the table tennis equipment is timely since the Ministry is currently reviewing and developing a curriculum that is more in keeping with students’ ability, their interest, best practices and global demands.She said that this initiative is a golden opportunity for GTTA to develop the sport and search out potential talents from within the school, “Who knows, maybe we will be able to find our next Chelsea Edghill.”Dr. Henry urged head teachers to capitalise on the generous donation, care the items and ensure that they are duly utilised for their intended purpose.Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, His Excellency Cui Jianchun, said that table tennis is China’s national sport. According to statistics, more than 100 million people in China play table tennis.He said that the sport helps persons to keep fit and gives a lot of fun to its players. He is happy to know that many Guyanese love playing the game.He said that China and the Guyanese people have always enjoyed the extensive exchange efforts surrounding table tennis. He hopes the game can be used as a medium to promote exchanges and mutual learning between the two countries and their people to carry-on Guyana-China/China-Guyana friendship for generations.Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings applauded the efforts of the People’s Republic of China, GTTA and other stakeholders for playing their part in bringing today’s event to fruition.The handing-over is a concrete expression of the historic, strong and continued friendship and meaningful collaboration between Guyana and China since the establishment of diplomatic relations.According to Minister Cummings, sport can be a powerful vehicle for promoting foreign policy objectives such as the strengthening of mutually beneficial relations, friendship and understanding.She commended the comprehensive endeavour to develop table tennis across the length and breadth of Guyana especially in the hinterland regions. She commended the Ambassador for his commitment and the Embassy of China for its willing partnership with GTTA, Ministry of Education and the National Sports Commission.The 50 tables and equipment will be distributed to schools in the education districts one, two, three, four, five, six, nine, ten and Georgetown.Also present at the event was the Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Hutson, Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration), Mrs Ingrid Trotman, Regional Education Officers and other senior officers within the Ministry. Following the formal handing-over ceremony GTTA and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China signed an MOU for continued collaboration.