WE CALL IT PING PONG!
BIG SUCCESS IN BELIZE
The Central American Senior Table Tennis Championships
by Yasser Musa
On November 19th, 2016 the 34th Central American Senior Table Tennis Championships concluded in dramatic fashion in Belize City. It was a historic moment for Belize to be the host country with seven nations and their respective teams participating.
In the men’s championships Mexico’s Jose Ricardo Villa Can placed first, and in the female championships Estefania Ramiros from El Salvador topped the tournament. In men’s doubles the Mexican duo of Jose Ricardo Villa Can and Miguel Lara Escalante brought home the gold while in the female doubles Estefania Ramirios and Emme Arias delivered the victory. In mix doubles Guatemala’s Kevin Montufar and Mabelyn were victorious. The overall TEAM category saw Mexico as champions for the male division and Guatemala as top finishers for the female division. (see detailed results here)
One of the big stories of the tournament is the emerging young TEAM Belize featuring all junior players – Latrell Solis, Taye Parkinson, Terry Su, Manuel Castellanos, Amiri Hoare, Kevin Chen, Devesh Hukmani and Rohit Pagarani. Belize’s participation in these championships is a bold move on the part of the Belize Table Tennis Association (BTTA) showing a strong sign of confidence in our youth, and speaks to the deliberate focus on pushing for youth development in our sport. Our team was coached by Gabriel Guerrero and Juana Barbara.
Of course a tournament of this magnitude could not have been possible without the full support of the Association and the generosity of our sponsors. We are grateful for the support of the Belize Olympic Committee, Belize Bank, BTB, Bennys, BTL, Brodies, Atlantic Bank, Crystal, Powerade, Brodies, KBH, Courtenay Coye, BEL, Mikado, Brothers Habet, Barrow and Williams, Smart, Mirage,Gentrac, Fantasy 5 and Best Western.
Taye Parkinson wins Bronze at the Central American Pre-Infantile U13 & U11 Table Tennis Championships!
Belize participated for the second time in the Central American Pre-Infantile U13 & U11 Table Tennis Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica from July 27th to the 30th 2016. This year the Belize delegation comprised of six players. This included Taye Parkinson (age 11), Terry Su (age 13), Devesh Hukmani (age 12), Jude Castellanos (age 12), Jofny Paguaga (age 12), and Kelly Liu (age 13). They participated in four categories at the event; team, singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, and all played in the U13 category with the exception of Taye Parkinson who played singles in the U11 category.
7 Central American countries participated in this event and included Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Nicaragua was unable to participate in this event yet again. The competition began on July 27th with the Team Event. Teams were comprised of two players each and each country could register up to two teams (with the exception of the host country, Costa Rica, who were allowed four). Belize participated only in the U13 boy’s category of this event, as we only had one girl representing from Belize in our delegation and one boy in the U11 category.
Belize Team A was comprised of Taye Parkinson and Devesh Hukmani, and was placed in group C, a rather challenging group with El Salvador A, Costa Rica B, and Costa Rica D. Belize Team B which was comprised of Terry Su and Jude Castellanos was placed in the toughest group, which included Panama A, Guatemala B and Costa Rica A, some of the events strongest teams. Both of Belize’s Teams fought hard, but were unable to secure a win over the other countries in their groups. The team event finished in the morning of the second day of the competition with Guatemala A winning overall, Costa Rica A placing second, and Panama A placing third. The doubles event began shortly after in the afternoon.
Again, we were only able to participate in the U13 boy’s category with two teams. Taye Parkinson and Devesh Hukmani played as one team and Terry Su and Jude Castellanos as the other. This event utilized a straight knockout format. Due to our results in the team event, for all subsequent events we would be seeded last. This meant that the draws would be tough, but our players remained eager to do their best and managed still to put out a good showing with some great points being played. Unfortunately, our Team A was unable to make it past the first round losing to Costa Rica B in a close match (2-3). Belize Team B had a slightly better performance overcoming Aiven Ng/Joseph Kirsch of Panama B in the first round 3-1, but lost to Benjamin Paniagua and Matias Uribe of Costa Rica C, in the round of 8, leaving Belize B, Terry Su and Jude Castellanos, with fourth place in the Doubles.
With two events down, the mixed doubles event kicked off in the morning of the third day. This year is the first year our delegation included a female participant, Kelly Liu. As a result this was also the first year we were able to play the mixed doubles event. Our mixed doubles team comprised of Terry Su and Kelly Liu. This event, like the doubles before it, utilized a straight knockout format. Terry Su and Kelly Liu played Johnny Vasquez and Maria Fernanda Monge of Costa Rica in the first match and lost 0-3, but in very close games. The mixed doubles event continued into the afternoon and finished around 2 o clock with Guatemala emerging victorious, winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions. El Salvador also placed third in this event.
After the mixed doubles and a hearty lunch, the main event began. In the afternoon of the third day, the round robin portion of the singles event would be played. This determined which juniors would get to play on the final day. All of our juniors played this event and each was placed into separate groups. Taye Parkinson played the U11 category while Terry Su, Devesh Hukmani, Jude Castellanos, Jofny Paguaga, and Kelly Liu all played the U13 Category.
In the U13 category our players were unable to make it out of their groups. Devesh Hukmani managed to win over Walter Acuna of El Salvador 3-0 and managed to take a set from Jose Perez of Costa Rica, but was unable to secure a second win which would have put him into the main draw on the last day of competition.
Terry Su, Jude Castellanos, and Jofny Paguaga fought hard in their groups, but lost all games 0-3. Kelly Liu, had a promising start winning her first game against Honduras 11-4, but nerves getting the best of her lost the match 1-3 in the end. She played much better in her second match against Kiara Nunez of Costa Rica who was a technically stronger player than Rocio Hernandez of Honduras, but again lost this time 0-3. Considering that this was her first time in the international arena and playing so late into the competition (not playing team or doubles on the first two days), Kelly Liu made an impressive first debut, with many of the coaches from the other countries welcoming our female participation and commenting positively on her level of play. They also expressed similar sentiments of our boys’ team, remarking that they have not seen such improvement from any country in such a short time (this being only our second time attending this event). They were especially mesmerized by Taye Parkinson who at this point was our last hope of medalling in the competition.
Taye Parkinson played the U11 category. Feeling determined to prove himself after his losses in his first two events Taye Parkinson came back strong by emerging from his group undefeated beating Skawell Picado of Costa Rica 3-0, David Herrera of Panama 3-0, and Kobe Zhang of Honduras 3-0. With these wins he earned the top position in the group and immediately qualified to play in the main draw of the singles event which was scheduled for the last day.
On the final day, Taye Parkinson was scheduled to play against Moises Alvarez of Costa Rica first. He overcame Moises rather quickly with a 3 set straight win. He would then play last last year’s champion, Rogelio Castro of Mexico. Taye had played Rogelio last year in the Round of 8 and was unsuccessful against him. This time around Taye felt much better prepared to overcome Rogelio. This match was closely contested, but in the end Rogelio still proved too much for Taye as he lost 1-3. This lost meant that Taye would have to settle for a Bronze Medal in the U11 category.
For the BTTA’s second international pre-infantile event, our juniors have done exceptionally well, with all the other countries from the region acknowledging and encouraging our continued participation at the event.
In January of this year we had also participated for the third time in the Central American U15 & U18 Table Tennis Championships in El Salvador. Our juniors had performed exceedingly well there as well. Their participation and performance in El Salvador, and now with the performance of our even younger juniors in Costa Rica, we know that we are on the right track towards developing a stronger Belizean Table Tennis. We are confident that so long as we continue to work with our junior players, we will continue to receive positive results. This is the first time that one of our junior players has managed to medal at an international event, and this has come only two years after the work with our junior players have begun. We are very proud of this result!The Belize Table Tennis Association would like to thank the Belize Olympic Committee for its support, the junior players and their parents for their commitment and hard work, our coaches, Gabriel Guerrero and Luis Estefano Valls for preparing the juniors leading up to the event and for working with them as coaches during the event, to Manuel Paguaga, who was our doctor on site at the event, and all others who contributed towards making this event a successful one.
Team Belize Wins Big at CODICADER 2016
The Boy Who Wore Orange
Taye Parkinson is a player that thinks about what he does on the table. At eleven years old he has become the talk of the Belize table tennis community.
Last year he was named the player of the year. He has won tournaments in every category offered – 12 and under, 15 and under, 18 and under, C division, B division and yes he recently won an A division tournament.
Over the weekend (July 6th-10th) the Central American tournament known as Codicader was hosted in Belize for the first time. And yes Taye Parkinson delivered. First he along with team mates Devesh Hukmani, Jude Castellanos, and Jofny Paguaga placed second in the team event, and then along with his partner Devesh Hukmani defeated the Costa Rican duo Johnny Vasquez and Steven Aguilar in the U- 12 Boys Doubles.
And in a fitting poetic singles final Taye faced the formidable Sebastian Mendoza of Panama. In front of his home crowd Taye displayed a relentless attack game measured with precision serving. The audience erupted in jubilation as Taye delivered the U -12 Boys’ Singles victory for his team and for Belize.
When the match ended his teammates rushed into the play area and hoisted Taye in the air. It was a moment of joy for all, but for the boy who wore orange from St. Joseph Primary School it was oh so sweet!!!