The Trinidad and Tobago Table Tennis Association (T&TTTA) has gone into panic mode, ahead of the Caribbean Junior and Cadet Championships.
T&T will host the tournament between April 3 and 7. But with the first serve less than three weeks away, the association needs $92,000 to avoid embarrassment.
"Expected funding from the Ministry of Sport has not come through," T&TTTA first vice president Collin Cudjoe explained. "It has created somewhat of a panic among (us) officials. I was present at the 2011 Caribbean Championships AGM when we asked to host these Championships. All documents and statements have been sent in well ahead of time. My understanding is that funds from the Ministry of Finance have not been released to the Ministry of Sport.
"We almost never get funds from our subvention requests this early in the year, so it was always touch and go for funds to be released."
Cudjoe told the Express that the T&TTTA has been doing all in its power to ensure a successful staging of the regional tournament.
"The association, in a bid to make up the shortfall, has been asking corporate Trinidad and Tobago to assist in any way possible. We are also doing fundraising activities."
At the Championships, T&T will field two teams each in the boys' under-18, boys' under-15 and girls' under-15 categories, as well as a girls' under-18 team.
"The choice to host the under-15 and under-18 tournament," said Cudjoe, "and the ability to produce seven teams in this format shows how much development has been taking place in the sport.
"Also," the T&TTTA selection committee chairman continued, "at this time we have two of the most exciting juniors to grace the table tennis boards since the days of Dexter St Louis, Nigel Christopher, Courtney Pugh and Seamus Clarke, with Aaron (Wilson) winning the Tobago Open and Arun (Roopnarine) taking the Classifieds.
"Funding is also required for these players to attend the 2013 Global Junior Circuit."
The total cost for Wilson, Roopnarine and a coach to take part in a training camp at the Werner Schlager Academy in Austria, between April 15 and May 20, as well as the May 21-26 Polish Junior & Cadet Open is $95,520. The tournament in Poland is a qualifying event for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China.