Table Tennis: Heartbreaking exit for Guyanese Women in Pan-Am qualifiers

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By Akeem Greene

A gutsy performance by Guyana’s senior female table tennis team was not enough to get them over the line and ultimately to the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, following to a 1-3 defeat to Dominican Republic in the final of the qualifiers at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Monday evening.

The Dominican Republic lasses are a familiar foe, having eclipsed the Guyanese to gold at the previous senior championship last year in Jamaica.

On Monday, it was déjà vu with Natalie ‘Speedy’ Cummings having to outwit Esmerlyn Castro. In Jamaica, Cummings battled to a five-set defeat and seven months later, same opponent, same result, a frustrating defeat.

Credit to Cummings, who worked her way back from 0-2 to square the match, only to lose the final set 6-11. Most of Castro’s points came off the back-hand of the southpaw Cummings. It was a slight technicality she didn’t adjust, given her forehand play simply rattled Castro.

More so, every point scored against the Islanders, they were faced with rousing cheers for the home side. The other scores in the match went 6-11, 8-11, 11-9 and 11-2. Had Cummings won, it would have been on Chelsea Edghill to bring home the bacon.

Natalie Cummings had a lot of pressure on her shoulders, but she certainly gave her best

The ladies fancied their chances when their best two players in Edghill and Trenace Lowe played like poetry in motion against Castro and number one seed Yasiris Ortiz in a thrilling encounter.

After taking the first two sets quite emphatically with 11-7 score lines, Dominican Republic turned the tide and won 11-9, 11-7.  All down to the final, the Guyanese duo stuck to the task and won 11-8.

Lowe lost her singles match to Ortiz 1-3 (5-11, 12-10, 3-11, 10-12), while Cummings lost her other match in straight sets (6-11, 4-11, 9-11) to Eva Brito.

Both male and female teams lost their chance to seal qualification to the Games at this event. However, it is understood there is a slight opportunity for another shot at qualifying in Guatemala in May, but only in the Singles category.

Early in the morning, the men lost their semi-final match to Dominican Republic 0-3. Shemar Britton was the lone player to win a set in a gruelling 1-3 defeat to Emil Santos.

Read more about the Men’s game: https://newsroom.gy/2019/03/25/table-tennis-guyanese-men-out-of-pan-am-games-contention/

The Dominican Republic lads were not twice lucky, as Puerto Rico upstaged them in the final to win 3-1.

Attention now turns to the senior Caribbean championships, which commenced on Tuesday and will run until March 31.

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