LOTS OF SILVERWARE: Trinidad and Tobago’s table tennis team on return to Piarco International Airport yesterday from the Caribbean Table Tennis Championships in St Lucia, where T&T won ten medals: three gold, three silver and four bronze. In photo, from left, are Arun Roopnarine, men’s singles champion Dexter St Louis, women’s singles runner-up Rheann Chung, Alaric Humphreys, T&T Table Tennis Association president and team manager Reeza Burke, and Curtis Humphreys. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES
St Louis lands fifth Caribbean t-t title
TRINIDAD and Tobago’s Dexter St Louis ran away with the men’s singles crown, but his step-daughter Rheann Chung suffered a heart-breaking and stunning defeat when the Caribbean Table Tennis Championships concluded Saturday night in St Lucia.
The defending champion seemed to have a lock on her sixth title after beating Eva Brito in three straight games during the team event semifinals and then winning the first two of the best-of-seven gold-medal match.
But the player from the Dominican Republic, who had lifted the Under-21 trophy the night before after being crowned Caribbean under-18 champ a few months ago in Trinidad, bounced back in spectacular fashion and did not drop another game in her 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 triumph.
After being forced to settle for the silver medal in the last two years, St Louis produced his very best at the age of 45 years old to join fellow France-based player Chung on five titles.
The top-seeded southpaw did not drop a single game leading up to the gold-medal match, but still saved his best for last as he brushed aside this year’s United States National Collegiate Association champ Emil Santos of Dominican Republic 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.
St Louis and Chung had combined to secure mixed doubles gold for a seventh time on Thursday, the same day both of them also picked up medals in doubles.
The 27-year-old Chung and Caribbean Under-13 champ Jasher De Gannes notched silver, while St Louis combined with last year’s national champ Curtis Humphreys for bronze.
T&T actually claimed two medals in men’s doubles as Humphreys’ younger brother Alaric and Arun Roopnarine also reached the semis.
The Humphreys brothers, the Canada-based David Mahabir and St Louis had been forced to settle for the silver in team competition the night before when they were edged 3-2 by Dominican Republic.
Like St Louis, Chung won her two matches in the team final as the T&T squad, also comprising Aleena Edwards, Linda Partap-Boodhan and De Gannes, defeated Guyana 3-1.
Defending and ten-time national champ Edwards also collected a bronze in singles as she lost to eventual champ Brito in five games in the semis.
Roopnarine ended with two bronze medals as, after crushing Sunil Logan of Guyana 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 in the quarter-finals, the 15-year-old Classified Championships winner was beaten 8-11, 11-2, 1-11, 11-5, 11-5 by eventual champ Issac Vila of Dominican Republic.
Mahabir, who became this country’s oldest ever national champion in June in only his second tournament here, cruised past Teddy Matthews of St Lucia 11-3, 14-12, 11-4 to reach the veterans’ final on Thursday.
But the 62-year-old, ranked 14th in all of Canada, was forced to settle for the silver medal as Cuban Raul Betancourt defeated him 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 to complete a hat-trick in the over-50 division.