Tyrese Knight’s final shot to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, was a hard-fought one but in the end, he lost 4-1 to Andy Pereira of Cuba yesterday at the Salón Metropolitano Stadium in Rosario, Argentina.
Since March the 21-year-old has been taking on some of the world’s best for a place at the Olympics. Knight’s last opportunity to qualify was against Cuban Pereira, his toughest rival to date.
In the end, Knight was defeated 11-8, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9 against a very experienced Pereira who is not only one of the best players in the continent but also an Olympian having attended the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“But the last match I played I was quite impressed but not overly impressed. I was able to stay close and give the two-time Olympian a run,” Knight said after his match.
Unlike his first match when he played Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic and had to depend on Guyana coach Idi Lewis for guidance, this time Knight had Barbados’ former national head coach Rawle Alleyne by his side.
Alleyne who currently lives in the United States and is head of Westchester Table Tennis Club flew to Argentina to assist Knight.
A former Caribbean junior champion, Knight showed some impressive skills during his match against Pereira. However, like in all of his matches during these qualifiers from Doha, Qatar, to Argentina, Knight struggled to finish in a strong manner.
“I also had some chances in this match to make it even go longer but I didn’t capitalize at the right moments,” Knight said.
He explained: “My first match wasn’t as good as my last I guess because I wasn’t as comfortable knowing that I didn’t have a coach. I also started to play late and my opponent was really confident.
“It was a long but not easy journey. I have some more things I need to work on but I am more confident against these players now and I can feel in the games that I played that I am catching up with them.”
In terms of his plans going forward, Knight said he is not yet sure but has his eyes on a few major championships, namely the Commonwealth Games and the Central America and Caribbean Championship.