TRINIDAD and Tobago’s Dexter St Louis and Rheann Chung rolled into the singles finals of the Caribbean Table Tennis Championships last night in St Lucia.
Chung was in serious danger of surrendering her crown in her very first knockout match when she lost the first two games to another former Caribbean Under-21 champion, Trenace Lowe, after a first-round bye.
But the top-seeded France-based 27-year-old roared back to defeat the Guyanese 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 and did not surrender another game en route to the final.
Chung then brushed aside Kircia Diaz 11-3, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 and then took down another player from the Dominican Republic, Lineth Vila, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 in the semi-finals.
Aleena Edwards won twice in five games to be assured of a medal, but the ten-time national champ was forced to settle for the bronze when she was beaten 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 in the semifinals by Caribbean under-21 champ Eva Brito of the Dominican Republic.
Chung, who won gold alongside Edwards and Linda Partap-Boodhan in the team event and with her stepfather St Louis in mixed doubles, was the favourite to capture her sixth singles crown after press time as she had already beaten Brito in the team event.
Four-time champ St Louis looked determined to atone for finishing runner-up in the last two editions as he sailed into the final without dropping a game.
The France-based 45-year-old began his knockout campaign after a first-round bye by brushing aside two-time Caribbean champ Trevor Farley of Barbados 11-8, 15-13, 11-2 and he then took care of Dominican Republic players Samuel Galvez (11-3, 11-2, 14-12, 11-2) and Juan Vila Batista (11-7, 11-5, 14-12, 11-7).
Another player from the Dominican Republic was waiting in the final after press time and Emil Santos had also not dropped a game.
Alaric Humphreys, who won a bronze medal with Arun Roopnarine in doubles two days earlier, won twice to reach the quarter-finals, but was then beaten in four straight games by Vila Batista.
His older brother Curtis, last year’s national champ, and the Canada-based David Mahabir, who became this country’s oldest ever national champ two months ago at age 62, both went out in the second round.
Caribbean Under-13 champ De Gannes also lost in the second round, while Partap-Boodham won a match in straight games after a bye before going down in six to Vila in the quarters.