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.

The Jamaica Table Tennis Association finds itself in a race against time to raise approximately US$33,000 to fund a 12-member team to the Pan American Youth Championships set to serve off from September 12-19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Jamaica plans to send U19 and U15 teams to the championships but according to JTTA President Andrew Lue, while the association has a team on paper, they need to raise the funds that will enable them to confirm participation by September 3.

“We have received permission for all players in the team events to also play singles, doubled and mixed doubles so it’s an excellent opportunity for not only the athletes but for Jamaica to gain international ranking points. The US$33,000 (approximately J$5million) will go towards travel, accommodations, entry fees, gear, Covid tests and stipends,” Lue told Sportsmax. TV.

“International competitions are an integral part of our strategic development and Olympic road map for Paris 2024.”

The full team includes Tsenaye Lewis, Kelsey Davidson, national women’s champion Solesha Young, Neveah Scott, Joel Butler, Jon Pierre Daley, Christopher Lyn, Jayden Ebanks, Brian Blake, Matthew Fung, Garu Whyte and Rasheed Clarke.

There are four players to each team, Lue explained, U19 girls, U19 boys and U15 boys. The players who have qualified to play singles are Davidson, Lewis and Alessio Tulloch. However, Tulloch is unable to go and will be replaced by Rasheed Clarke, who won the U19 title at the recent national championships.

However, everything depends on if the JTTA can raise the money required.

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.”

 

 

 

Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

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