National table tennis player Christopher Franklin last weekend smashed his way to the men’s singles title at the French League team and individual tournaments in French Guiana.
In his second outing for the year following his participation at the World’s table tennis championships earlier this year in France, Franklin
repaid the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) for their faith in selecting him by winning the men’s singles crown and leading the Guyana A team to the team title.
Two other players also won singles gold with Nigel Bryan winning the boys U21 category and Natalie `Speedy’ Cummings winning the women’s tournament.
GTTA president Godfrey Munroe praised the players on their performances.
“I think in large measure we achieved what we set out to do which is to provide exposure for the younger players and still give a few other players coming through the ranks that exposure.
“It’s a process. The opposition was a solid group of players that our guys played against and their performances are truly satisfying.
“It was good to see Franklyn back out,” he added.
Franklyn, in an invited comment told Stabroek Sport:”Overall the tournament was of a good level, the hospitality was great, we stayed at a Four Star hotel, Blue Western Amazonia.”
He added:“I want to thank the GTTA for giving me the opportunity to compete in the tournament.”
Franklin defeated Richie Palton in the final after getting past Jonathan Coupra, the number two seed, in the semi-finals. Guyana’s Edinho Lewis also reached the semi-finals losing to Palton after being up 5-1 in the decisive fifth game. Lewis had defeated the number four seed Alex Tertuillen in the quarter final. In the team event Guyana A defeated French Guiana A 3-2; French Guiana B 3-0, the Brazil Developmental Team 3-2 and the Guyana B team 3-0.
Cummings played unbeaten in the round robin women’s competition while Bryan defeated Elishaba Johnson in the final of the U21 category. Bryan reached the final by defeating the top Brazilian U21 player while Johnson edged Jamaal Duff by three sets to two.
Speaking of the competition Franklin said his toughest opponent was Palton, the number one seed, who defeated him in the team event.
“I had lost to him in the teams but made some adjustments in the final. The major thing for me was I did not have conditioning due to a lack of training but as the tournament progressed I began to play better.”
Franklin stopped Palton 4-0 in the final after getting past Coupra 3-2 in the semis.
Munroe said the GTTA will look at exposing more and more players.
“More than anything else we have to look at opportunities to blood players and create an environment for them to excel especially the younger ones who need the exposure.
Munroe said he hoped that the victory by Cummings would be a confidence booster as she has always played in the shadow of other and stronger players. He also said that it was good to see Bryan who he said was a tremendous talent putting his head down.
The French Guiana League tournament is held every four years and Guyana participated in the previous tournament held in 2009.