Table tennis looks to have a viable future in the Cayman Islands.
With a number of talented youngsters in the sport, the potential for growth is promising. Many prodigies were on display at last Saturday’s BDO/C.I. Table Tennis Open, put on by the Cayman Islands Table Tennis Association at Mary Miller Hall. Calum Lindsay would win the boys 12 and Under and 15 and Under categories, ahead of Liam Henry and Edward Akers, respectively. Javdon Nelson claimed the 18 and Under crown, besting Akers in the final.
Association president Robert Sairsingh said those young men all excelled in the spotlight.
“Calum is a class act, he has the potential to be an outstanding national player,” Sairsingh said. “We had not seen much of him in practice and he was an unknown quality. We don’t know where he trained and acquired his skills but we hope to incorporate him more and more into the national fold.
“Javdon is a long-standing player we know about. His preferred sport is track and field and we’re not sure if he will stay in table tennis. But he’s a fierce competitor. Edward is coached by association executive Michael Ricketts and he turned in a really impressive performance. He’s a student of the game, he loves it and he hopes to continue to play and improve.
“I coached Liam and he started out as a self-conscious young player. In a matter of five weeks, he’s developed into a very strong attacking player. I’m sure he shocked his parents with his play. I’m expecting he will go a long way in the sport.”
David Pitcairn and Ayodeji Oremule were semi-finalists in the 12U group, Adebayo Oremule and David Franco advanced to the semis of the 15U segment and Adebayo Oremule claimed bronze in the 18U category.
There was a substantial adult segment that attracted the likes of squash stalwart Jody Jervis, tennis star Micah Koll and darts player Norrin Stewart. Donovan Nelson beat Peter Smith to claim the men’s 45 and over section, with John Cameron and Paul Samuels reaching the semis. Ansel Tempral won the men’s singles group and the tournament’s overall crown by besting Filipino talent Eric Serva in the final, with Donovan Nelson and Ricketts reaching the semis.
Maria Kharitidi of Russia won the women’s segment, besting Sharon Collins. Janet Sairsingh finished in third place.
Robert Sairsingh said many of those adult players have considerable skills.
“Ansel competed for Cayman before and he continues to play at a high standard and be involved in all levels of the sport. Serva surprised us by beating Donovan in the semis. Donovan is a perennial force. He was No. 1 on the Island and he got a good challenge from Peter and both are on the level of being national team players one day. John is an older man who played in the UK some 30 years ago and we hope to see him more involved.
“I wish we would have seen more women compete though Maria is a very strong player.”