Melville turns table on Thomas; Van Lange maintains supremacy
By Akeem Greene
Crystal Melville’s triumph was the fairytale story of the National Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships, which concluded Sunday evening at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Having lost the Girls Under-15 title to Titans Table Tennis club mate, Thuraia Thomas, Melville quickly shrugged off the pain to rebound with the Under-18 title 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Truth be told, she could have bagged both titles, having been up 2-0 to Thomas in the Under-15 championship game, but allowed the former champion to come back 10-12, 8-11,10-12. Melville had won the first two sets 11-8 and 12-10.
A teary-eyed 14 year-old told News Room Sport it was her dream to win a national title and after losing the Under-15 title, she was determined to make amends.
She had defeated Nkechi McRae in straight sets (11-6, 11-8, 11-4) in the Under-15 semi-final, while Thomas was pushed by the young Jasmin Billingy, but won 3-2. She lost the first 5-11, but rebounded 11-7, 11-4, 8-11 and 11-5.
The precursor to the Under-18 final saw Melville defeat Billingy 11-1, 13-11 and 11-4, while Thomas topped McRae 11-0, 11-4, 9-11 and 11-4.
King Van Lange
Jonathan Van Lange, for the second year running, mopped up both the Boys’ Under-15 and Under-18 titles in emphatic fashion; both times against Kaysan Ninvalle.
The former final seemed a walk in the park, as Van Lange won 11-9, 11-8 and 11-8. Ninvalle had his moments to close out games, but lost points on his serve, actually some soft points, which truly made the difference.
Van Lange won his semi-final, defeating Colin Wong 11-5, 11-9 and 11-7, while Ninvalle was pushed by Krystian Sahadeo. The former Caribbean gold medallist managed to win 11-9, 12-10, 11-13 and 11-7.
In the Under-18 semi-finals, Van Lange stopped Jamal Nicholas 11-8, 11-9 and 11-17, while Ninvalle overcame Niran Bissu 11-9, 11-6 and 11-8.
Their second bout proved more intrigue, as Ninvalle had in his corner current senior Men’s champion, Christopher Franklin. Ninvalle changed his serve and looked to attack Van Lange to his left and it seemed to be working, but Van Lange found ways to pick up points. He went on to win 11-8, 11-5, 8-11 and 11-6.
On Saturday, Samirah Burrowes got past her twin sister Sufah in the final of the Intermediate Girls’ competition, while Yuteshwar Persaud won the Novices competition.
The senior championship will now serve off on Friday at the Sports Hall.