Trinidad and Tobago’s Rheann Chung finished second in the elite women’s singles event, at the National de Poitiers table tennis tournament, in France, on Saturday.
Chung lost in the final to Chinese defensive player, Xiao Qiwen, the five-time Caribbean women’s singles champion battling hard before going down three games to two.
France-based Chung was the defending champion, having beaten Aude Jacquot in the 2013 final.
On Saturday, third-seeded Chung got the better of Salome Patarin in the quarterfinal round, before upsetting second-seeded Anais Leveque in the semis.
Another France-based T&T player, Dexter St Louis lost in the men’s singles quarters to his training partner, Frenchman Paul Lavergne. The five-time Caribbean men’s singles champion had beaten Alexis Aufrere to reach the last eight.
St Louis, a two-time winner of the National de Poitiers tournament, staged an impressive comeback in his showdown with Lavergne, but eventually lost the match 3-2.
“We know one another’s game so well,” St Louis told the Express, “sometimes during the match I was saying to myself this is like training. We practice together everyday and discuss our strengths and weaknesses openly in order to really help ourselves go forward...I know this may sound strange in Trinidad language. However, after losing the first two games I found my way back in the match at 2-2 (in games) and leading 4-0 in the fifth. I did not play intelligently from 7-7. I had trouble selecting where to return the service, and paid the price for it.”
St Louis was very impressed with Chung’s performance in the women’s singles championship match.
“Rheann played great against this defensive player who attacks almost as good as her. I think, personally, Rheann was a little too patient in waiting to find the angles, and needed to get the first two balls in the middle of the table which will help her find the angles much more quickly. Rheann is playing good now with lots of confidence. Her (women’s singles) bronze medal at the Latin American Championships has opened her confidence against top players here in France. The type of standard she played is a real booster for the Commonwealth Games.”
As reigning Caribbean champion, St Louis has earned the right to compete in next month’s Latin American Top 12, in Paraguay.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed that Rheann goes also. I think it will be good for her seeing that all eyes in Latin America are on her at present.
“We will play in the Heritage Oil Open in London during the second weekend in July,” St Louis continued. “This tournament is very good. It is like the warm-up tournament before the Commonwealth Games. About 50 percent of the top 25 players in the Commonwealth Games have already entered to play in this tournament. Also, we may have the Pan Am Games qualification from the 16th to 20th of July, which is only three days before the Commonwealth Games.”
Curtis Humphreys, one of the players likely to team up with St Louis for the men’s team event at the July 23 to August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, is currently at the Swedish Elite Center in Koping, Sweden.
“I am happy to see Curtis is in Sweden at this present time training in the Koping high level centre. It will do a good for his game and his attitude. I always say Curtis is the best player locally, but to make it on the international scene he has to get bad. I think after this stint you will see a different approach from him, which will make him a better player. It cannot make him a better person,” St Louis ended. “He is already the nicest guy in table tennis.”