Young TT players fare well among best in region
With more frequent overseas tournament to play, Jamaica's Under- 15 table tennis players will hold their own against their peers in the region and in this hemisphere. That's the considered view of Richard Davidson, who was part of the coaching team that led Jamaica to the Colombia leg of the ITTF World Cadet Challenge Championship in Medellin, Colombia from July 15-20.
Drawn with Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, the Jamaican team of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis and Kelsey Davidson had a tough time. A tight 3-2 loss to the Chileans was followed by 3-0 losses to the Argentines and Mexicans. Jamaica had finished second in a regional qualifying tournament in the Dominican Republic to reach the World Cadet Challenge, and Davidson reported that the players and coaching staff benefited greatly from the experience. "It was really an eye-opener for me," he said. "I can say factually that this is where table tennis being played, not necessarily in the Caribbean, but in South America."
He continued: "So in order for our players and our coaches to improve and to be more competitive, even for the Caribbean to move forward, we need to participate more often in these championships."
The team missed national senior champion Solesha Young. "Based on her form at the National Championships and the previous championship that she played in the Dominican Republic, she was the form player, and she'd have made a significant difference in this championship," Davidson said.
Besides that, the tournament revealed two areas in which Jamaica need to improve. "They spend more time in training, so they will play more consistently and win more matches because they have more time in training," Davidson said. "Unlike our girls, what I've found out is that when they play team events and start the singles, they're a bit worn out."
The conclusion was clear. "That means we're not playing enough table tennis long enough for a five-day championship," he said.
The other shortcoming was tactical. "We go into to a game and we want to play every player the same way," he observed.
"Apart from that, we're right up there with them, and I see if we had the best training together, going forward, we can compete in South America, not only the Caribbean, because that's where the table tennis is."