Trinidad and Tobago’s Rheann Chung reached the last 16 at the Criterium Federal National 1 Elite Women table tennis tournament, in Mont-de-Marsan, France, two Sundays ago.
The high-quality event featured the number one player in France, Li Xue. As it turned out, France-based Chung lost to Li Xue in the round of 16, but not before giving the world number 39 a scare in the second game and following up with another strong showing in game four. Chinese-born Li Xue eventually won 11-8, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11.
Another France-based T&T player, Dexter St Louis told the Express that Chung, ranked 447th in the world, was impressive.
“She should have won the second and fourth games. The lesson learnt from matches like these is when you have world class on their backs, if you put them in a hole they always come back to hunt you. It’s good to get to the last 16 in a tournament with top class players. It is always a good preparation for the Commonwealth Games where you will come up against players you need to really put in that hole.
“I think Rheann is playing real good now,” St Louis continued, “but needs to curtail how many matches she plays in international tournaments. I also think that Rheann cannot play in two leagues here in France for ten months, and win four finals at the Caribbean Championships, like was expected in St Lucia (last year). The work is too much for the best of professionals.”
At the 2013 Caribbean Championships, Chung led T&T to women’s team gold, and then teamed up with St Louis for their seventh mixed doubles title. But in the women’s singles, Chung, a five-time winner, had to settle for silver. And in the women’s doubles, Chung and Caribbean under-13 champion Jasher De Gannes combined for the runner-up spot.
“This season is long,” said St Louis, “with CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games), Commonwealth, Latin American Championships, Latin Top 12, Caribbean, and other personal tournaments. You have to be selective...what is really in your physical capacity to perform at 100 per cent each time. You need to be prepared, and you cannot be overworked by playing unnecessarily, which at the end does more harm than good.”
St Louis, who captured his fifth Caribbean men’s singles title in St Lucia last year, plans to follow his own advice.
“I’m only concentrating on league matches here (in France) and a few in England,” the world number 352 explained. “The objective is Commonwealth, Latin American Champs, Latin Top 12 and Caribbean Championships. I cannot be at 100 percent for any more than that, else it will be like going on holidays, which I never appreciate at tax payers’ expense.”