Huge Turnout At Table Tennis Youth Champs

The Namibian Table Tennis Association (NTTA) successfully hosted its annual Youth Championships at the Dr Lemmer High School in Rehoboth last Saturday.

The tournament saw a total of 194 matches being played over a period of nearly 12 hours. It was yet another huge step in the NTTA’s effort to increase youth participation and development.

“We were happy to see such a great turn-out. It shows that table tennis is alive and well among the youth in Namibia,” a delighted Heiko Fleidl, secretary of the NTTA, noted.

A team of players from Holy Cross Convent School participated for the first time, and, although they did not win any medals, they gave a good account of themselves.

A Shipena School participated for only the second time in a championship and showed great improvement since their first participation.

The U18 boys singles competition was the most keenly contested with a total of 67 matches played. In the absence of Jakob Machleidt and PW Steenkamp, the top-seeded Darren Strauss had little resistance in defending his title.

The best match of the play-offs was in fact between fourth seed Dietrich Moumlwes and local Rehoboth boy, Convin van Wyk, in one of the semi-finals.

Van Wyk played outstanding table tennis and took Moumlwes to maximum sets before eventually going down 3-2.

In the final, Moumlwes went down in straight sets to the top seeded Darren Strauss, but despite the defeat, Moumlwes produced some excellent attacking shots. Strauss’ experience, especially on the international stage this year, however saw him home.

The U18 girls’ category saw some surprises, with Jesse Joseph, an unseeded player from M.K. Gertze High School causing some major upsets.

Someone forgot to mention to her who the seeded players were, and she first eliminated the third seeded Faghma Coleman in the quarter finals and followed it up with a win over the second seeded Anja Steenkamp in the semi-final.

Her winning run was finally halted in the final where she lost 3-0 against the fourth seeded Reese Saunderson.

Saunderson and the top-seeded Kaitlyn Beukes had a thriller of a match in the other semi-final.

Saunderson was ahead 2-0 after two sets and looked set for a 3-0 upset over the top seed. But Beukes had other ideas and fought her way back to two games all. The final set was a nail-biter with the aantage shifting a few times between the two girls, before Saunderson eventually clinched it 11-9 for a 3-2 victory.

Beukes and Saunderson continued their dominance in the girls’ doubles competition when they beat Anja Steenkamp and Ciara Thorburn in the final.

The boy’s doubles produced excellent table tennis. Conwin van Wyk teamed up with Ronaldo Vogel to upstaged Moumlwes and Andreas Fechter in the semi-finals to book a place against Darren Strauss and the experienced Aldrin Goliath in the final.

The final produced top table tennis and Van Wyk and Vogel surprised the crowd by clinching the coveted doubles title by three sets to two.

In the girl’s U15 section, Anja Steenkamp and Ciara Thorburn finished first and second respectively. Although the hard-hitting Steenkamp dominated the final, Thornburn showed a great fighting spirit and eventually took the top honors. She had triumphed over surprise package Jana Hein from Convent Primary School in their semi-final, while Steenkamp booked her place in the final with a solid win over Nicole van Wyk.

Meanwhile the U15 boy’s category was dominated by scholars of the DHPS School. All four semi-finalists attend the school in Windhoek. Here, Moumlwes was the man of the hour as he defeated Raimo Dengeinge 3-0 in the final. He had beaten his fellow school mate Ethan Januarie in the battle for the final.

The plate section winners were as follows: U18 boys: Rowan Diergaardt U18 girls: Bealan van Wyk.

Source : The Namibian