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Baggoo, Verna in ‘Sugar’ Veterans’ field

By Shammi Kowlessar

MERLE BAGGOO and Verna Edwards are the only women entered to compete in the veterans’ (over-45) singles event when the Sugar To Energy Table Tennis Championships continue tonight at Couva Chamber Headquarters (opposition Couva Hospital).
Despite being over 50 years old, both players are ranked among the top ten female players in the country. They are both former national champions and Baggoo, who only recently returned to competition after a break of over 20 years, captured her title way back in 1963.
Faiz defeated Imtiaz in a battle of the unrelated Mohammeds for the crown when this tournament was last contested two years ago, and both will be competing again.
The list of participants also includes Anthony Laquis, Hazare Gopaul, Laureston Special, David Ramdin and Bob Roopnarine, returning to competition after a lengthy absence.
Roopnarine, the general secretary of the Table Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the technical director of the Caribbean Table Tennis Federation, has been the co-ordinator of this biennial two years after it inaugurated in ’93.
The 39 players will begin action in 13 round-robin groups and the group winners will advance to the knockout stage.
This year’s tournament will climax on Sunday with the final of the team events and the conclusion of the women’s and men’s singles.
When the main events served off two weeks ago, Brittany Joseph, who was only 16 years old when she was crowned national champ two years ago, and defending champ Linda Partap-Boodhan made it the women’s title match.
The men’s draw is at the semi-final stage and the players still alive are 15-year-old Aaron Wilson, Anson Wellington, Alaric Humphreys and five-time national champ Reeza Burke.
First serve today is 6 p.m.
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