From Donald Duff in New York
Fresh off his exploits in the recent Berbice Open table tennis championships where he won the coveted men’s singles crown, para athlete Gibran `Gibby” Hussain is eyeing similar success at this year’s Mike Dempsey Memorial championships which serves off tomorrow in San Diego, California, United States of America.
The Mike Dempsey Memorial Championships is being organised by the United States of America Table Tennis Association and is being run under the auspices of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Para Table Tennis Division.
This is Hussain’s second stint at the Dempsey Memorial Championships and like last year he will compete in Class 10 the highest class of the tournament.
This year’s tournament will be contested at the Town and County Resort Hotel and has attracted a number of world ranked para athletes including the USA’s Tahl Leibovitz who will compete in Class nine
Last year Hussain, who took a game off the number 23 ranked Para player in the world and also lost to the number 17th ranked player in the world, ended in sixth place in his category a feat which saw him earning a world Para ranking of 32, he told Stabroek Sport yesterday from his home in the Bronx.
Hussain said he was looking to better his last year’s performance.
“Well I trained really hard for this tournament and this year I should do better,” he declared.
Hussain’s main grouse has been his inability to get in match practice since he has been here in the USA.
“I’ve been here one week and have not been able to play,” he said.
He revealed however that he has been watching videos of the best players.
However, he informed that he will have two days to get into shape before the tournament starts since December 3 and 4 will be used by the tournament organizers for classification purposes.
Hussain, who was aiming to qualify for next year’s World Para Championships in September in Beijing, China laments the fact that lack of sponsorship will prevent him from becoming the first Guyanese table tennis player to qualify for those games since he will be unable to participate in the Para Pan American Championships which starts in San Jose, Costa Rica on December 9.
According to Hussain participation in the two tournaments would have gone a long way towards him qualifying for China.