At 12 years old Imani Edwards-Taylor has already represented Trinidad and Tobago numerous times in the sporting arena. The daughter of former senior national women’s team player, Astra Edwards-Bennett, and relative to an entire family of competitors, this Form 1, Bishops Anstey student has Table Tennis in her blood. Which was why it came as no surprise that after watching her family compete and represent T&T nationally and Internationally, Imani started her career in Table Tennis in 2015 at the tender age of nine.
Even at 9 years old, Imani was no stranger to competition and representing our country on the world stage. Five years ago, she had the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago in Orlando, Florida at the International Jump rope Championships, and again in 2014. In 2015, she once again represented our country in the Jump rope Championships, in Paris, France.
However, her attention turned almost completely to Table Tennis and soon her skill and dedication allowed her to graduate to the national team. In 2016, she was chosen to be a part of the team to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Caribbean Games in the Dominican Republic. She was a part of the national team that went up against other athletes from all across the Caribbean and Latin America.
Later that year, Imani was part of the team that placed first in the T&T Caribbean Regional Table Tennis Federation Mini and Pre-Cadet Under 11 & Under 13 Championship (she was part of the Under 11 team). In 2017, she was crowned champion of the B Division of the Classified Table Tennis Championship, as well as picked up a silver medal in the T&T Caribbean Regional Table Tennis Federation Mini and Pre-Cadet Under 11 & Under 13 Championship (this time, as part of the Under 13 team).
Despite this busy schedule Imani still finds the time to dedicate herself to other sports. Currently, she trains at the Tots and Tumblers Gymnastics School, something that she hopes she will develop enough skill to be able to represent her country in gymnastics in the future. She is also a part of Bishop’s Anstey swim team. This 12-year-old is not about to stop anytime soon as she has plans to attend the 2018 Caribbean Games from August 24th to September 1st, as well as the National Table Tennis tournament in Trinidad.
When asked what advice she would give to other young persons interested in representing their country, (whether they come from an athletic family or not), Imani says that pushing through is the only way. “Follow your dreams and push hard, even though you might not have all the resources. Go to school and see if the PE teacher has the equipment, or if they can get a coach. Go home and build a basketball hoop; just use everything at your disposal.” Use everything at your disposal to become the best version of ourselves, push through adversity and lack and in time become all you can be to the benefit of yourself and your country.
Disclaimer: This article was originally written for and published by CARE in the TT Guardian on Friday May 25th, 2018.
Omega is a freelance copy-editor and writer, who also finds time to blog about mom-life and writer-life on her website: www.omegafrancis.com