Joy and Tears At Table Tennis Open

The spacious Swakopmund Indoor Sport Centre, under the auspices of the Namibia Table Tennis Association (NTTA), recently hosted the Coastal Table Tennis Open, which attracted more than 32 senior and 46 junior players.

Junior entries exceeded expectations with a large number of entries coming from Elnatan, Rehoboth, and Mariental schools. There were also three participants younger than 11, indicating a bright future for table tennis in Namibia.

The highlight of the event was when all participants and spectators were surprised with a courtesy visit by Namibia internationally acclaimed legendary sprinter and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Frankie Fredericks, who updated the juniors about the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018.

The junior categories produced some of the best action of the event, with upsets at the order of the day. It was, however, no surprise when Reese Saunderson and Kaitlyn Beukes, both from Windhoek Gymnasium, contested the junior ladies final where Reese triumphed with 3-0.

Elnatan scholar Leandi Dreyer took the bronze medal. Reese then teamed up with Dietrich Moumlwes of St Georges to secure the junior mixed doubles title when they edged out the Elnatan Private School pair of PW Steenkamp and Leandi Dreyer in the final.

Third place went to Jesse Joseph (MampK Gertze Secondary School) and Ronaldo Vogel (Rehoboth High School) and it was a surprise not to have the favourite pairing of Kaitlyn Beukes and Kean Tait (Windhoek Gymnasium) on the podium.

PW Steenkamp won the gold in the junior men division by beating surprise finalist Delton Dreyer (Mariental High School) in the final. The bronze medal was won by Ethan Januarie (DHPS).

Number 1 seed Ronaldo Vogel and winner of the recent Namibia-China Friendship Cup, Dietrich Moumlwes, were not in medal contention after being eliminated during the quarterfinal stage by PW Steenkamp and Ethan Januarie, respectively.

PW Steenkamp and his doubles partner, Jean Paul Thorburn (Elnatan) beat tournament favourites Ronaldo Vogel and Dietrich Moumlwes in the final to take home gold in the junior men doubles division. Bronze went to Kean Tait and Raimo Dengeinge.

In the senior ladies category Khutsifalo Sekolokwane once again showed her class when she won the gold medal by defeating junior, Reese Saunderson, in straight sets in the final.

Another junior, Kaitlyn Beukes, defeated local contender, Brigitte Hartz, in the bronze medal play-offs. More upsets came in the senior open division where Derick Rooza won the gold medal.

The player from Walvis Bay had a tough route to the final and had to beat tournament favourites Ramon Hansen (semi-finals) and defending champion Heiko Fleidl in the final. Both these games were tough and he had to pull out all stops to secure victory for his region. Hansen secured bronze medal. This was Rooza’s first major title.

The pairing of Ramon Hansen and Rudi Saunderson successfully defended their doubles title when they beat Derrick Rooza and Fabian Tait in the final with Heiko Fleidl and Reinolt Schurz in 3rd place.

Heiko Fleidl made sure that he did not leave the tournament without a gold medal when he and Khutsifalo Sekolokwane won the senior mixed double title against Fabian Tait and Junior, Reese Saunderson. Tait and Saunderson put up a g challenge but it was not enough against the aggressive play by Fleidl and Sekolokwane.

The event was sponsored by Salz Gossow for a fourth consecutive year.

Source : New Era