Simon Tomlinson and Solesha Young successfully defended their national titles as the curtain fell on Jamaica’s National Table Tennis Championships at the National Indoor Sports Center last Thursday.
Tomlinson, who won his fifth national title, beat Peter Moo-Young, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, for a 4-1 victory. Meanwhile, Young, 17, beat Tsenaye Lewis 11-7, 11-3, 1-12, 11-3, 11-5 for the women’s title.
Young also won the U21 women’s title and the Women’s Rural Singles Open title.
“The Women’s Open title is the most important to me just because it tells everyone that I’m the number one girl in the country. Double national champion; that’s an impressive achievement for me at 17, ”said Young, who said preparing for the competition presented its own challenges.
“Overall my performance was exceptional despite limited training, the Covid-19 pandemic and preparation for the CBSC exams, I had to use strategy and tactics to defend my title.”
She revealed that in some cases, she could only train twice a month, as access to training facilities was limited due to the pandemic.
Tomlinson, meanwhile, said it wasn’t an easy path to the title.
“I went to the final trying to be as calm as possible. I had a big fight in the semi-final with David Williams, a veteran player who is now based in England, and that result was 4-3 so I had a tough game in the semi-final, so before the final I had to calm down and come in with a good game plan, a good strategy and outsmart Peter, ”said Tomlinson.
“He’s a very smart and cunning player.”
Tomlinson said mainly due to the pandemic he hadn’t had the opportunity to play so much, especially after failing in his attempt to qualify for the April Olympics. However, this experience helped him navigate the difficult rounds of the national championships.
“The Olympic qualification was the greatest preparation I had before this tournament, it was three / four months ago, but it was the only job I was able to do given the restrictions we have I had in Jamaica because of Covid so I was heavily reliant on that preparation and the knowledge I had gained before the Olympics and it really helped me. It kept me calm, centered during games At no point did I overreact or lose my temper, I was able to stay focused and get the job done.
The other category winners were as follows:
U13 Girls: Karecea Peterkin, U15 Boys: Jadeen Ebanks, U15 Girls: Tsenaye Lewis, U19 Boys: Rasheed Clarke, U19 Girls: Naveah Scott, U21: Joel Butler, Rural Men: Rudolph Sinclair, Men 40: Rudolph.
Andrew Lue, president of the Jamaican Table Tennis Association and finalist in the Men 40 competition, called the tournament a success.
“For the first time, the male and female champions won the same prize money. As part of our effort for gender equality, we thought it was very important that this happened so that we could set the tone for other sports to follow, ”he said.
“Another historic first was that our U13 Boys title was shared by Gari Whyte and Brian Blake because this final could not be played.”