Tsenaye Lewis is a proud teen table tennis player after she picked up a couple of titles and two other podium finishes at the recent Carmel Barrau Open Tournament at the Broward Table Tennis Club (BTTC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lewis was entered in seven categories in which she played 29 matches, winning 22 against 20 males and two female players ranked from 679-2477 by USA Table Tennis (USATT).

“This was a good opportunity to practice my skills and test my abilities against a variety of players – ranging from females my age to grown men. I think I represented myself well and learnt a lot,” she said afterwards.

That, she did.

She placed first in Under-1150 beating 954-rated Damian Casanova in three straight sets, 11-8,11-8,11-8 and first in Under-1350 silencing 1325-rated Jose Renator Goncalves 11-8,11-8,8-11,11-8.

She snagged third place in the Under-1800, losing to 1569-rated Angel Luis Nunez then another third place in the Under-1550, going down to the unusual navigations of 1495-rated Efrain Perez in the semi-finals.

 “I am very proud of her performance at the Broward Open as this was her first individual international victory,” said her coach Dale Parham of Skills Unlimited Table Tennis Academy (SUTTA).

“With more international exposure, the right support and training facilities, she has tremendous potential to go far.”

Coach Parham noted that her ability to make quick mental adjustments allowed her to compete against the male players was especially impressive.

Jamaica’s Men’s Champion Simon Tomlinson attended the tournament and was pleased with what he saw from the talented teen.

“Tsenaye played really high-quality matches against players equal to or above her level,” he said.

“I have had a chance to do some work with her along with Coach Dale Parham over the past few weeks and she has continued to show tremendous potential. I am excited to see what the future holds for her.”

Prior to her entry into the tournament, Lewis did not have a USATT rating, but this performance will get her on the USATT scale.

At the Jamaica Table Tennis Association’s (JTTA) National Table Tennis Tournament held in August 2021, Lewis was the U15 champion and the runner-up in the Women’s Open competition as well as the Under 21 category.

Simon Tomlinson and Solesha Young successfully defended their national titles as the curtains came down on Jamaica’s national table tennis championships at the National Indoor Sports Centre last Thursday.

Tomlinson, who was winning his fifth national title, defeated Peter Moo-Young, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, for a 4-1 victory. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Young defeated Tsenaye Lewis 11-7, 11-3, 1-12, 11-3, 11-5 for the Women’s title.

Young also won the U21 female title and the Women’s Rural Singles Open title.

“The Women's Open title is the one that means the most to me simply because it tells everyone that I am the number-one female in the country. Two-time national champion; that for me, is an awesome achievement at age 17,” said Young, who said preparing for the competition presented its own challenges.

“Overall, my performance was outstanding despite limited training, the Covid-19 pandemic and preparation for CSEC exams I had to use strategy and tactics to defend my title.”

She revealed that in some instances she was only able to train twice a month because access to training facilities was limited because of the pandemic.

Tomlinson, meanwhile, said he it was not an easy path to the title.

“I went into the finals trying to be as calm as possible. I had a major battle in the semi-finals with David Williams, a veteran player who is now based in England, and that result was 4-3 so I had a trying match in the semi-finals, so going into the final I had to calm myself and go in with a good match plan, a good strategy and outwit Peter,” Tomlinson said.

“He is a very intelligent, crafty player.”

Tomlinson said that primarily because of the pandemic, he didn’t get a chance to play that much, especially after he came up short on his bid to qualify for the Olympics in April. However, that experience helped him navigate the challenging rounds of the national championships.

“The Olympic qualification was the most preparation I had going into this tournament, granted that was three/four months ago but it was the only work I was able to put in given the restrictions that we have had in Jamaica because of Covid so I was heavily reliant on that preparation and the knowledge that I had gained heading into the Olympics and it definitely helped. It kept me calm, centred during the matches. At no point, did I overreact or lose my cool. I was able to stay focused and get the job done.”

Other categories winners were as follows:

U13 Girls: Karecea Peterkin, U15 Boys: Jadeen Ebanks, U15 Girls: Tsenaye Lewis, U19 Boys: Rasheed Clarke, U19 Girls: Naveah Scott, U21: Joel Butler, Rural Men: Rudolph Sinclair, Men’s 40: Rudolph.

Andrew Lue, President of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association and runner-up in the Men’s 40 competition, characterized the tournament as a success.

“For the first time, we had the men and women champion winning the same prize money. As a part of our thrust for gender equality we thought it very critical for that to take place for us to set the pace for other sports to follow,” he said.

“Another historic first was that we had our U13 Boys title being shared by Gari Whyte and Brian Blake as that final was unable to be played.”

 

 

 

A berth at this year's summer Tokyo Olympic games is undoubtedly on the radar of Jamaica's top table tennis players, Simon Tomlinson and Kane Watson, who both continue to show impressive form at the international camp in Broward, Florida, where they are currently in training for the Olympic qualifiers later this month in Argentina.

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