Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Lothian was a champion of sports

Former TT president passes away, hailed by stakeholders for his contribution

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2021 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Yesterday’s passing of former Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) President Godfrey Lothian sent shock waves through the sporting world with several stakeholders hailing the administrator for his contribution and commitment to the sport.

Lothian died at home yesterday from a suspected heart attack. He was 64 years old.

Andrew Lue, who was embroiled in a bitter two-year battle for the leadership of the association with Lothian, said he learned a lot from the former president, and described him as a champion for the sport.

“It is very shocking to me. I know we had our differences but you don’t wish this on anybody,” Lue said. “Despite everything, I know Mr Lothian gave his all to the sport. He made a big difference in a lot of different ways. We have learned a lot from him and he has left a legacy.”

Lothian took charge of the association in 2013 and is credited for reviving the sport locally. Under his tenure, Jamaica became the country with the most certified coaches and course conductors in the Caribbean.

Before his tenure ended earlier this year, he kick-started the local table tennis premier league and had plans for a regional competition as well.

However, his seven-year stint as head of the JTTA came to a close when the courts ruled that his annual general meeting (AGM) was illegitimate, after he and then presidential contender Lue both held AGMs and election of officers on the same day.

“He has done a lot for the sport in Jamaica. We recognise his efforts and we offer our deepest condolences to his family. Mr Lothian is a very charismatic and a legendary leader. We are going to miss him,” Lue said, while adding that the association will discuss how it will recognise his contribution to the sport in an official way.

Meanwhile, Darrington Ferguson, who served as treasurer during Lothian’s time in office, said the nation has lost a giant in sports administration.

“Godfrey Lothian was not just a table tennis administrator. He was also the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association, he was president of the Greenwich Town Football Club and is a member of the Jamaica Cricket Association.

“He wasn’t an ordinary individual, he was one who gives of self and believed in the development of youth and would go the distance for them,” Ferguson commented. “He was a visionary and he strongly believed that sports was the answer for many of the problems in this country.”

Sports Minister Olivia Grange was among those offering tributes to Lothian.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home today. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contributions will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” said Grange.

Lothian served three terms as president of the JTTA, and even though initially he won a fourth term, his victory over Karen Sinclair-Lym was ruled null and void by the courts.

Efforts to settle the leadership out of court and establish a credible delegates list for new elections proved futile, leading to a long battle with Lue, who replaced Sinclair-Lym as the challenger for the post of president.

After the court’s ruling, Lothian indicated his acceptance and noted his willingness to work alongside the new administration, ending a conflict that at one point threatened to derail the sport in Jamaica.