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SVG Table Tennis team does well at OECS Championship

SVG Table Tennis team does well at OECS Championship

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The Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association is satisfied with the performance of the young team that represented the nation at the just concluded 17th OECS table tennis championship in St. Lucia.{{more}}

The new Executive body took the bold step of implementing – for the first time – an eight-year proposal of restricting team selection to players under the age of thirty-five years to represent the country at regional championships.

It selected a four member squad comprising fifteen year olds Kavir Gaymes and Daryl Dickson, twenty year old Romano Spencer and the captain, Carlton Daniel, who is in his early thirties, along with the female team of Natasha Shortte and Karen Browne, who are both in their twenties, to participate in the team competitions at the 17th OECS table tennis championship, held at the Beausejour indoor facility from 14 to 16 November, in St. Lucia.

Except for the team captain, Carlton Daniel, the other male players were participating in the championships for the first time – and they did not disappoint. The team placed third in the men’s team competition, which was contested by five nations.

The host nation fielded two teams which placed first and second. Grenada was fourth. The British Virgin Islands, playing in the competition for the very first time, placed fifth, with St. Kitts/Nevis in the cellar in sixth position.

Spencer teamed up with Natasha Shortte to capture third place in the mixed doubles, while the female team of Shortte and Browne placed third in the women’s doubles and the women’s team competition, which was contested by four nations, including the host, Grenada and St. Kitts/Nevis.

Fifteen-year-old Kavir Gaymes, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was adjudged the most impressive young player at the championships. In presenting Gaymes with the trophy, Teddy Matthews, President of the St. Lucia Table Tennis Association, noted that Gaymes was one of two Vincentians who participated in the recent Commonwealth Youth Games in India. He said Gaymes has far to go in the game if he continues playing dedicatedly and receives proper coaching.

Matthews also commended the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association for its bold step, and he predicted that the talent displayed by the young Vincentians would pay dividends in the form of an OECS title in the future.

Bob Ballantyne, coach of the Vincentian contingent, says the performance of the players in both the men and women’s singles and team competitions vindicated the decision by the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association not to select players older than 35 years of age to represent the country at this and future championships.

Forty-eight-year-old Ballantyne, who was captain of the Vincentian team that won the title when the championship was last held in 2005 in Dominica, is still among the top players in the sub region. He participated in the men’s open singles competition, as well as the men’s doubles, in which he placed third in partnership with another veteran, Percy Dublin, who flew to St. Lucia from the US for the competition.

Donnie DeFreitas, former president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association, who now resides in St. Lucia, also participated in the men’s open singles competition in which he gave the manager and assistant coach of the SVG contingent, Elliott Charles, a scare in the elimination round of the men’s singles.

Charles had to dig deep to recover from a two game deficit to win by three games to two (7-11; 5-11; 11-3; 15-13; 11-4).

DeFreitas was honoured by the St. Lucia Table Tennis Association during the closing ceremony of the 17th OECS Table Tennis Championship, for his contribution to the development of the game in the sub region.

DeFreitas was one of the architects in reviving the Windward Islands Table Tennis Championship in 1976, which developed into the OECS table tennis championship.

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