JUNIOR TENNIS: Wong rallies to U-11 title; Billingy cops double
By Akeem Greene
Never say never was the order of the night for young Colin Wong as he defied the odds and produced a thrilling comeback to win the Boys’ Under-11 title at the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) Junior National Championships that continued on Saturday (June 2) at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue.
Wong, playing his Titans’ club mate, Dhanesh Persaud, was down two sets and looked out cold for a second place finish until the tide turn in his favour. He came back from 10-12, 3-11 to topple Persaud, who seemed to lose the finishing edge in the match set. Wong won the final three sets 13-11, 13-12, 11-7.
In the Girls’ Under-11 final, Jasmin Billingy won 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 against Rachel Saunders. For the Under-13 Girls, another Titans player went home with a title, as Thuraia Thomas, a young racket wielder with great potential, defeated club mate Naveah Clarkston 11-3, 11-3, 11-2.
Nerves were given a chance to settle as the Boys Under-13 final between friends Kaysan Ninvalle and Jonathon Van Lange was shifted to Sunday (June 3).
Reaching to the epic finale, both players were forced into a corner on various occasions. Van Lange defeated Kristian Sahadeo 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, while Ninvalle rebounded from a first set defeat to prevail over Wong 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10.
With just five competitors, the Boys Under-9 was played on a round-robin format with Malachi Moore coming out on top. Moore defeated Chad Outar , who placed second, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.
He then toppled Jonatan Cox 11-3, 11-7, 11-7. Cox, who placed third, had also lost to Outar 12-10, 9-11, 4-11, 10-12; Aaron Fraser and Zamani Johnson rounded-off the other placements.
In the Under-9 Girls, Billingy continued to show she is one for the future with another splendid performance.
She swept Samara Sukhai in straight sets 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 to lift the title. In the semi-finals, she defeated Rashel Saunders 11-5, 11-5, 11-5, while Sukhai, though placed under some pressure, got the better of Akira Watson 11-7, 12-10, 11-7.
Additionally, 15-year-old Emmanuel Jeffery, who travelled from Henrietta, Essequibo Coast, showed the sport certainly has immense talent outside of Georgetown.
From the batch of 12 which came from Essequibo, Jeffery won the Boys’ Novices ahead of county mate Jean-Marc Mahase in a tense final which went to four sets.
Jeffery, a student of Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary, has been playing the sport for just four years and displayed great composure to cop the title in the talent-spotting event.
Maybe it was familiarity with Mahase but after taking the first set 11-4, he lost the next on the reverse score line. It was now tense; quite a big stage for the young lad, but he rebounded and took the next two sets 11-9, 11-9.
In the semi-finals, Jeffery defeated Kevic Shamsudeen 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, while Mahase played a more dominant role and won 11-6, 11-0, 11-0 against Vicci Savoury.
The Girls’ Novices title went to Shania Narine, who played unbeaten by defeating Nathlie Greaves 11-3, 11-9, 11-7 and Anita Hendricks 11-6, 12-10, 11-4. Hendricks left Greaves winless, winning 11-1, 11-7, 11-6 to cop second place in the category.
Action will continue on Sunday (June 3) from 10:00h as the Under-13s, Under-15s and Under-18s will bring an end to the three-day event.