JUNIOR TENNIS: Ninvalle bags U-15 title after nerve-racking final with Bissu


By Akeem Greene

The number of spectators witnessing the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) Junior National championships at the National Gymnasium on Sunday (June 3) was minuscule, but they overwhelmed the atmosphere with their boisterousness in appreciation of arguably the match of the tournament, the Boys’ 15 and Under final between Kaysan Ninvalle and Niran Bissu.

It is fair to say that many finger nails were ravaged as the two young stars tested their own nerves and that of their coaches as neither was intent on producing a feeble surrender.

In the end, it was 13-year-old Ninvalle who was able to let out a loud ‘hurrah’ as he won the match 3-2.

The first two sets went in his favour 11-7, 13-11; that second set, Bissu had a chance to level proceedings after coming back from 1-4 deficit to carry the set to deuce, but faulted on the set point as Ninvalle played a tackle advantage by pressuring  Bissu’s forearm play which surprisingly was not clicking.

Bissu, who is from the Titans Club, took the next two sets 11-6, 11-8, but lost the final 11-4.

11-year-old Johnathon Van Lange won the U-13 title and got two third place finishes in the higher categories

In the semi-finals, Ninvalle defeated Johnathan Van Lange 11-1, 11-9, 12-10, while Bissu took care of  club mate Isiah Layne 11-5, 10-12, 11-1, 11-9.

The Under-15 Girls title went to Navaeh Clarkston, who produced a clinical display against Thuraia Thomas, who won the Under-13 title the previous day.

Clarkston won 11-2, 11-7, 11-5. Adding to her trophy collection was the Under-18 accolade which she also matched skills with Titans’ club mate Thomas. She won that match 11-8, 11-6, 13-11.

For the Boys’ Under-13, Van Lange had a change in fortunes against Ninvalle in the final. It was another robust exhibition by the young lads, who played to a five-set match. Anyone following the 11 year-old Van Lange would know he has  troubles in ‘closing matches’ and demons of the past seemed to be  returning.

Nevaeh Clarkston took home the U-15 and U-18 titles

He took the first two sets 11-9, 14-12, but allowed Ninvalle to come back into the fray by going down 5-11, 10-12. Signs were beginning to draw that he was in for another heart break in the match set, but he has just enough determination to pip Ninvalle 11-9.

The Under-18 Boys category had some upsets as title favourite Miguel Wong was ousted by Bissu in the quarter-finals. Bissu went on to lose to eventual champion Nickolas Romain in the semi-final.

Romain won the final against Jamal Nicholas quite emphatically 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4; Nicholas had stopped a ragging Van Lange in the semi-final 16-14, 11-4, 17-15.

Other winners of the three-day event were Colin Wong (U-11), Jasmine Billingy (U-9 and U-11), Emmanuel Jeffery (Male Novices) and Shania Narine (Female Novices).

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