National table tennis coach ldi Lewis, fresh from the just concluded Islamic Solidarity Games, yesterday told Stabroek Sports that he was quite satisfied with the team’s recent showing at the games even though the Guyanese loopers failed to medal.
“I’m definitely satisfied with the overall performance of the team,” he declared.
“I think we achieved a few things we had set out to accomplish, one being getting a few of the kids back in the international world rankings which helps a lot as far as seeding for tournaments going forward and right now we are focusing on the senior Caribbean championships so getting back in the world rankings will help us to get good seeding for the Caribbean Championships which is a couple weeks away in Cuba,” Lewis said. Lewis’ comments were strongly validated since both the male and female table tennis teams were knocked out at the quarter-final round. The women’s team lost to their Iranian counterparts where local girl Natalie Cummings, according to Lewis, played an amazing game against the number one ranked Iranian female player in a match in which she lost, which was considered to be the game of the tournament. Iran eventually won the female table tennis leg of the games.
The males, on the other hand, lost out to the Turkish side who after defeating Guyana, went on to claim silver.
Some of the players Lewis made reference to are national; men’s singles champion Christopher Franklin who was previously ranked, Chelsea Edghill and Trenace Lowe.
He, however, pointed out that if the players do not compete internationally during a six-month period, they will find themselves automatically knocked out of the rankings, which adds mounted pressure on the Guyana Table Tennis Association to further expose our local players internationally.
Lewis, when quizzed about what was taken from the Baku, Azerbaijan Games spoke of the importance of working with players both on and off the table in order to equip the players for that level of competitiveness.
“What we do on the table is much as important as what we do off that table, sometimes it’s even more important what one does off the table. But I think for us [table tennis] our players need to be on that level [internationally] more often and it’s something we have been talking about. Sometimes it’s tough to come from this environment to go on a world-class stage, it’s [Islamic Games] is even higher than the Commonwealth Games. So we definitely need to have a better structure locally but also we need to be on the world stage more often not just once every three years. It makes it hard to compete once every three or four years because the other players compete at that level [internationally] months out of the year,” the coach said
The Guyanese racket wielders will now turn their attention to the upcoming senior Caribbean championships which begin in July.