The 2018 edition of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) National Junior and Senior Table Tennis championships which will serve off from May 20, comes at an opportune time to reignite interest in the sport once again.
The tournament has been absent for the last two years which may have influenced a shift in the interest of a number of the game’s most promising young racket wielders.
A few have veered towards the path of cricket and are acquitting themselves admirably. While that speaks to their versatility, a move to turn their backs entirely against the sport will undoubtedly hurt the racket sport in Guyana.
Jonathan Van Lange has been doing well for the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) while Niran Bissu and Yeudistir Persaud are both in line to make the national under – 17 cricket team to participate in this year’s Regional under – 17 tournament in Trinidad and Tobago in July.
Nevertheless, the upcoming nationals present a few interesting possible finals match ups that the table tennis fan might not want to miss.
Van Lange and Kaysan Ninvalle should both reach the final of the boys under – 13 category and push each other the limit as they have been doing all year round. The two seem to bring out the best in each other as well as visible emotions.
In the two matches this year, Van Lange defeated his nemesis in the boys’ under – 15 semi-finals of the GTTA Mashramani junior and cadet championships before Ninvalle retuned to serve a measure of revenge to take the under – 13 final 3-1.
Both youngsters are also expected to produce fireworks in the under – 15 category in a bid to upstage Bissu, who earlier this year won both the Mashramani and Banks Malta under – 15 titles.
Lefty Isaiah Layne, if he holds his composure, can also produce a few surprises in the boys under – 15 category.
The easy-going Neveah Clarkson is billed to take the girls under 15 and 18 titles. She will face stiff opposition from her club mate, Thuraia Thomas who defeated her in the under – 18 final of the Scotiabank/Titans TT club tournament in March.
This was after Clarkson defeated her in the under – 15 final of that very competition. Thomas also copped both titles in the GTTA Mashramani tournament which Clarkson didn’t contest.
Nationals will present an opportunity to leave it all on the table to decide Guyana’s premier female junior table tennis queen.
Similarly, the boys under – 18 final is expected to see plenty of action with Youth Olympic hopeful Miguel Wong likely to face stiff opposition from Jamal Nicholas and Nickolus Romain – both of whom showed good form recently. The trio were championship winners this year with Wong winning Mashramani boys under – 18 title defeating Nicholas in a hotly contested semi-final before defeating Bissu in straight sets to take the final.
Nicholas, on the other hand, copped the Forbes Burnham Memorial handicap final when he defeating Terrence Rausch 3-1.
The 15-year-old displayed fine form and could have had a clean sweep, reaching the finals of the boys under – 21 and the B class events which he lost to Romain and Elishaba Johnson, respectively.
He had defeated big guns Wong and Kyle Edghill in the process. Romain copped the coveted B class final and will certainly put up a strong case for the boys’ under – 18 crown.
The tournament also presents an opportunity to observe whether seven-year-old Jasmine Billingy can maintain her dominance in the girls under nine and 11 categories. Eyes will also be on nine-year-old Malachi Moore.
We will look at the men and women senior matchups in a subsequent edition.