Barbados’ top table tennis player Tyrese Knight has landed a spot to compete against some of the world’s best when the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) high-performance camp commences tomorrow March 3 and runs until the 13th in Doha Qatar
The 21-year-old is seeking to make history for Barbados by becoming the first tennis player from the island to qualify for the Olympics.
While in Qatar, Knight, a former Caribbean junior champion will also compete in the Olympic qualifiers starting March 14th and ending the 17th.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, the former Combermere student said: “Physically I am ready. I was able to go to the gym in Barbados even though it was locked down and trained with my trainer. Mentally I am okay but we will see how it goes when I am playing.
“Leading up to the preparation was quite hard because of the lockdown that is going on in Barbados. I was able to get permission to go to train in the mornings. So, Carl and I worked mostly on my forehand. Making sure that it is strong enough to compete against the top guys here.”
He added: “On the verge of creating history, this has given me the motivation to work even harder and to represent the country at the Olympics and make history for Barbados in table tennis. It has been my dream from the time I picked up this sport. So, yes I am going to work hard and give a hundred percent and hope Barbados supports me.”
Knight’s manager Sherdon Pierre who is also in Qatar for the ITTF high-performance camp said he knows what the young Barbadian is capable of and attending the camp will further aid in his development.
“I have always seen the ability in Tyrese’s game and attending developing camps like these and participating at a high level will only aid his confidence and further improve his development.
“So, I am quite confident. He is one of the leading players out of the region and opportunities like this will further progress his game,” Pierre said.
He further explained: “It is just a matter of keeping on reminding him what is the end game, what is the goal which is to take his game to the next level. So, we just keep working on that, keep talking about that, looking at matches, keep him focused and to get rid of the nerves. The nerves are like lactate acid, it is no good.”
Failing to qualify this month in Qatar for the Olympics, Knight will have another opportunity from April 13th to 17th when he travels to Argentina.
Pierre and Knight thanked all who assisted with making the trip possible including the International Federation, the Barbados Olympic Association, National Sports Council, Barbados Table Tennis Association and Third Eye Security, Equipment Consultant Service Ltd.
Pierre is hoping that this will now open the door for other Caribbean athletes. He added: “The hope is to use these tours as a blueprint for others to come which is to focus on training camps and development opportunities in an attempt to bridge the gap.”