Senior Table Tennis team hunting gold in Jamaica

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By Akeem Greene

The Guyana Table Tennis Association has sent a nine-member team to the 60th Caribbean Seniors championships, scheduled for Jamaica from September 23-29. The team has been on the podium before, but the precious gold has eluded them and this year the players plan on breaking that trend.

The team is expected to depart on today (Saturday, September 22) for Kingston, where for the next six days, the National Arena will be a hive of activity for racquet wielders.

Team Guyana will be led by the experienced Christopher Franklyn, Shemar Britton, Joel Alleyne, Nigel Bryan, Chelsea Edghill, Trenace Lowe, Natalie Cummings, Jody-Ann Blake and Priscilla Greaves.

News Room Sport visited a practice session at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Thursday evening where some of players gave an update on their readiness and possible results they can achieve.

“As far as preparation is concerned, I did not have a lot of table work, so I tried to focus on a lot of mental and that should be enough to push me over the edge. In terms of our chances, I think we have a very good chance of coming in the top three this year,” Franklin pointed out.

Franklin, the current national Men’s champion, who has wide exposure over the years to varying tournaments, wants to leave a deep impression on this championship.

“I have a couple of good years still left in me and I want to start reflecting the results as such. This is going to be a very good test since I have been to three other tournaments for the year and I am feeling confident about myself,” Franklin said.

Cummings was not too far off the sentiments expressed by her teammate, as she too wants to be standing in the middle of the podium, in first place.

“We have a plan that we will try to actually win Caribbean Championships this year. I do not know how possible it is, but we are set to bring Guyana its first senior Caribbean title.”

The southpaw added, “We have been competing with these girls and I am not saying participating, but rather competing with them for years. Right now, it is for us to take that extra step and go and win. We have always been runners-up or placed highly in the Caribbean, but this time we are trying to go for the gold.”

The consensus is that winning is certainly the ultimatum, and as Alleyne explained, there is a “hunger” to do well.

“Very hungry given the conditions we are coming from. We are always going in as the underdogs so we are very hungry and we think we have good chance this year,” Alleyne noted.

He added, “Realistically, looking at the teams that are there, yes. Every year we go to the championships, but every year there is an improvement, so if we got bronze last year, we are looking to better ourselves every year, so our aim this year will be for the gold.”

At the 2017 championships held in Cuba, Britton and Franklin won a bronze medal in the Men’s Doubles from a tough field.

The Women’s team outdid itself by reaching the semi-finals, earning a bronze medal in the process before being eliminated by hosts Cuba.

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