Mental fortitude, exposure needed to cross final hurdle -Table tennis players

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By Akeem Greene

A combination of greater grit and the chance to have more exposure, along with lengthy preparation regimes have been identified by the national table tennis players as areas of improvement going forward.

They made those recommendations after recently returning from a successful campaign in the senior Caribbean championships in Jamaica.

It was a silver medal finish for the male and female national teams at the championships held last weekend in Kingston. They were not that far away from securing a historic gold, but both contingents were upstaged by the seasoned Dominican Republic, who are touted to be the Caribbean powerhouses.

A check in recent years, it was somewhat déjà vu regarding the summary of performance: coming close but not crossing the final hurdle.

News Room Sport inquired on Thursday from the players at a press conference about what they needed to do to ensure fortunes change for the championships next year in Guyana

“Dominican Republic is considered the strongest team at the championship. We tried our best against them and I would say we did pretty well because earlier in the year we had a similar kind of result against them. It is (the) little things we need to focus on more in training and we should be able to overcome them next year. It is more match readiness and some exposure overseas [and] we can overcome them next year”, Men’s bronze medallist Christopher Franklin stated.

Natalie Cummings, who won silver with the female team, noted, “Given the exposure we have had during this year and how close we were to overcoming them, it is possible just with a little bit more readiness. Mental (awareness) plays an important role; we actually forsake (that) and if you are given that awareness during the match that I have been in this position and this is the way I will handle it. For some players when you have never been exposed to such circumstances you end up falling short.”

President of the Guyana Table Tennis Association, Godfrey Munroe, explained they will be looking to put systems in place to both develop younger players and provide avenue for the seniors.  Munroe also revealed they are seeking possible partnerships with China in the form of having coaches visit to train players.

The team recorded their best medal haul since 2008 in French Guiana. In Jamaica, they won two bronze in the Female Doubles, silver in the Mixed Doubles, and two gold in the Under-21, compliments of Chelsea Edghill and Sahemar Britton. This is in addition to the silver in the team events.

Also part of the team were Joel Alleyne, Priscilla Greaves, Trenace Lowe, Jody-Ann Blake and Nigel Bryan.

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