Table Tennis: Young Guyanese impress against South America’s best

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Guyana’s Table Tennis team, which competed at the South American Youth Games in Rosario, Argentina, did not manage to progress to the medal rounds, but left a great impression on the tournament.

From an individual standpoint, 15-year-old Jonathan Van Lange was the only player to reach the Round-of-16, and current senior national players applauded his performance at the tournament, which caters to Under-19 players.

The other players on Team Guyana were Jasmine Billingy (12 years), Krystian Sahadeo (15 years) and Thuraia Thomas (17 years).

Van Lange defeated Panama’s David Herrera 4-1 to reach the Round-of-16 where he exited the Singles competition by virtue of a 4-0 defeat to his Ecuadorian counterpart, Diego Piguave.

In the first match, the Guyanese won 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 against Herrera, but then went down 7-11, 5-11, 6-11, 7-11 to Piguave.

Likewise, Sahadeo was stopped by Colombian Daniel Guete 8-11, 5-11, 4-11, 5-11, while Billingy was swept 4-0 by Alejandra Prieto. The Peruvian won 11-4, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9.

Thuraia Thomas produced some solid performances (News Room file photo)

Thuraia Thomas pushed Lia Rodrigues in a seven-set duel that swung both ways and eventually ended 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11 in the Panamanian’s favour.

In the team segment, Guyana was placed in a group with powerhouses Brazil, Argentina and Panama, and was winless in their three matches.

Van Lange once again breathed hope for Guyana as he finished his duel with Brazilian Henrique Noguti, which went the distance. However, despite a valiant effort, Van Lange lost 11-8, 1-11, 11-7, 5-11, 4-11.

Thomas then was swept 5-11, 4-11, 5-11 by Laura Watanabe and the Mixed Doubles pair of Billingy and Sahadeo also didn’t get a match against the Brazilians.

Guyana did manage to secure a match against Panama and Argentina, and Van Lange was the man to deliver via two superb 3-2 victories over Sammy Mercado of Panama and Nicolas Callaba of Argentina.

Meanwhile, the Coach of the team, Idi Lewis, in an invited comment, related to News Room Sport: “I’m very pleased with my team’s performance, especially that of Johnny [Jonathan Van Lange]. He won tough matches against Argentina and Panama and had chances versus Brazil. It’s always a great feeling when you can compete well against better prepared and heavily financed teams. It’s a testament to his talent and system we have locally.”

“It was also great to see Thuraia, Jasmine, and Krystian back competing overseas since they haven’t had many opportunities lately. I think they played really well and held their own against very tough opponents and it’s my hope they all get more opportunities in the near future.”

Lewis further thanked the many who supported the team’s journey to Argentina.

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