to do B’dos proud
in table tennis
Three of Barbados’ best junior table tennis players will be seeking to bring glory to Barbados at the prestigious Latin American Table Tennis Championships in Venezuela in November.
Stephen Payne, 13, Tyrese Knight, 12, and Marcus Smith, 11, have been under the tutelage of veteran player/coach Carl Sealy and training six-days a week for the biggest event in their sporting life this far. All three have already shown tremendous promise at the domestic and regional levels.
Payne, a student at Queen’s College, and who plays division one tennis for Fast Loopers, told Barbados TODAY his interest in the sport was first pricked when national player Trevor Farley started training youngsters at his former school, St Winifred’s, about three and a half years ago.
He has previously represented Barbados at the Caribbean championships and described that as an eye-opening experience back in 2009.
He said he had recently returned from a training stint in the Dominican Republic where coaches worked on his technique.
“It was really a great experience and pretty tough. I believe my technique has improved as a result of the experience,” he said, noting he was the only person in his family who played tennis.
That was not the case with Smith, though. The fellow Queen’s College student said he has been playing for about two years and got into the sport through his father, Henderson Smith, who also plays.
“I beat him sometimes,” he said with a chuckle.
The former Vauxhall Primary School pupil said he had previously travelled to Baltimore in the United States where he played in a junior ratings tournament.
He said he would be giving it 100 per cent at the November tournament and hoped to win in his category.Knight, who is heading to Combermere next week for the first time, said he had been playing tennis for only a year.
“Carl Sealy came to my school [St Gabriel’s] and encouraged me to come to the centre [Tennis Centre] to train and I became good at it and I have never stopped playing or training,” he said.
Coach Sealy told Barbados TODAY he had high expectations for the trio.
“They have so much ability and are the future of table tennis in Barbados. We have to give them all the help and support possible to develop their skills and bring honour to our country,” Sealy said.
One of Barbados’ premier players in the late 1970s and 1980s, Sealy said he was particularly impressed with the discipline which all three always exhibited.
Prior to heading off to Venezuela, the youngsters have an opportunity for high level exposure at a training camp in Canada that starts October 2. But for that, they will have to depend on corporate and other entities for the financial assistance to make the trip.
“This is a worthy investment and I am hoping that corporate Barbados and any other interested parties come to these youngsters assistance. They are really worth it,” Sealy said. (WG)