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Age is just a number, says Ballantyne

Age is just a number, says Ballantyne


Veteran Table Tennis player Robert “Bob” Ballantyne, who won the Singles Champion at the 2011 National Lottery Authority OECS Table Tennis championship,{{more}} believes that age is just a number when participating in a sport like table tennis.

The 51-year-old Ballantyne told SEARCHLIGHT soon after prizing out his final opponent, St Lucian Adrian Albert, “It is an individual sport and you should not tell a man that he is too old to play because at 51 I feel good still.”

Ballantyne, who has been representing St Vincent and the Grenadines in table tennis since the age of thirteen contends that if the youngsters were beating him, then he would concede that he is too old for national representation.

Ballantyne, who was the national coach at the last two international outings, made reference to some Central American players in the recent Panam qualifiers who are in their mid forties and are still representing their countries.

In reflecting on last Sunday’s triumph, Ballantyne said: “I feel great winning this tournament, having been trying since I was thirteen, when it was only the Windward Islands Championship”. He said he thought that the format of the championship aided his progress where players were required to play two singles and one doubles.

However, Ballantyne said in previous years he put out all his energies in the team championship, which drained him when the singles came around.

In reaching Sunday’s final, Ballantyne had a hard fought 3-2 triumph over fellow country man Joseph Carrington to set up the epic meeting with Albert, the defending champion.

Ballantyne beat Carrington 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, while Albert triumphed over another St. Lucian, Chris Wells, 3-1, with scores of 11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9.

Against the defending champion, Ballantyne had to pull out all the stops, and drew on his many years of experience.

Albert had no answer for Ballantyne’s service, and wooed on by the local crowd support was unable to come to grips with the occasion.

Ballantyne won the first two sets, 11-9, 11-8. Albert clawed back to win the third 11-8, but Ballantyne sealed the deal with successive wins, 11-6, 11-8, to his first singles title at this level.

The new OECS Singles Table Tennis champion said he was able to attain his accolade through tactical maneuvers.

“I play with an energy absorbing rubber, and he is accustomed to play with fast rubbers. He likes the game coming to him, but my game, I play one, one comes soft,” Ballantyne stated.

Ballantyne claimed that because of that, Albert was unable to play his natural game, which worked to his advantage.

Ballantyne said the thought that Albert was a worthy opponent, with whom he has had a long standing rivalry, which stretches back to 1998.

For now, though, Ballantyne said he was savouring the moment that had eluded him for many years.