Table Tennis Eliminators’ Cup exceeds expectations

WINDHOEK: This year’s edition of the Table Tennis Eliminators’ Cup exceeded all expectations as the tournament received a staggering 79 entries after a nearly five-year break.

The past weekend’s matches were played in the categories of senior singles, senior doubles, senior plates, Under-18 (U18) boys, U18 girls as well as U18 mixed-doubles.

Most games were fiercely contested as participants gave it their all not only for a medal, but also for valuable points in their respective rankings.

A statement availed to Nampa by the Table Tennis Federation (TTF) on Tuesday said the U18 boys’ division saw a dream final between Darren Strauss and PW Steenkamp materialising.

The two youngsters have been the outstanding performers this year, earning both their first steps on international stages. Strauss also defended his title successfully at the Namibian nationals two weeks ago.

The statement said both lived up to expectations, as they marched through to the final with strong displays.

Steenkamp showed great character during the final, but it was not enough to beat Strauss, who eventually won in three straight sets.

Meanwhile, number one-ranked Kaitlyn Beukes kept spectators on the edges of their seats as she overturned a zero to two deficit in the U-18 ladies’ final against Anja Steenkamp.

It seemed that Steenkamp was well on her way to take home the title, but with a momentous comeback from 10-4 down in the third set, Beukes shattered that. Beukes went on to win 3:2.

Beukes and Strauss then underlined their class even further when the two young prospects clinched the top spot in the U-18 mixed doubles’ division.

The two number one-seeded players triumphed over PW Steenkamp and Anja Steenkamp in the final.

There was more intense action in the senior players’ division.

In the men’s single division, unseeded Yunke Cui from China took top honours after he beat Ramon Hansen in a hard-fought final, which went all five sets.

Both finalists are from the Namibian Police’s Table Tennis Club.

Hansen, however, got his name on the winners’ list when he and his partner Rudi Saunderson won in the doubles’ division by 3-2 after trailing 0-2 against Yunke and his teammate Wang Yuqing.

Wang made a great comeback to competitive table tennis after breaking his playing arm in a car accident during late 2013.

In third place were Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW)’s Heiko Fleidl and Johann Malan.

The other results of the tournament are as follows:

U-18 boys’ single plate:

1. John Paul Thirnburn

2. Danco Burger

U-18 girls’ single plate:

1. Jesse Joseph

2. Helen Vries

Senior single plates:

1. Ashley Julius

2. Johann Malan