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Table tennis tourney on this weekend

The table tennis season will kick off at DHPS School in Windhoek this Saturday and will see the perennial players battle it out at the traditional season opening tournament. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am and is officially sanctioned by the Namibian Table Tennis Association (NTTA).

To some fanatic table tennis followers, last year’s senior men’s division champion German born Björn Wasielke will not be able to defend his title as he returned to his country of origin. Despite Wasielke departure it will be interesting to see who will now kick-off the tournament with the first tournament win. Current number one-ranked Heiko Fleidl is surely one of the hot favourites. But with the likes of quality opposition like Cui Yunke, Johann Malan, Wayne Green, Theo Beukes, Ashley Julius, Fabian Tait, Reinhardt Stanley and Ramon Hansen expected to be in the mix of things, Fleidl will have to step up his game to continue were he left off last year. From this year onwards, the group draws will be based on the seeding on the individual players, rather than a lucky draw as it was in the past. This prevents the top-seeded players from playing and eliminating one another during the early stages of the tournament. With the absenteeism of Darren Strauss, it will be very interesting to see who will take over the reign from the former number one in the U18 men’s division. Strauss finished school last year and is now studying abroad. Until his departure, he had dominated much of the junior division, earning him a place in the men’s senior national team for the Zone 6 games and the Team World Championship in Japan. Young PW Steenkamp from Stampriet might be the player to step up and establish himself as the new number one. Steenkamp showed that he is capable of upsetting the established order, defeating the top junior Strauss in the final of last year’s Windhoek Open. Meanwhile Kaitlyn Beukes and Reese Saunderson are expected to continue their two-horse race in the U18 ladies division. The pair locked horns in almost every final during the 2014 season. Beukes ended the season first in the NTTA rankings with 1070 points, but Saunderson gaining an impressive 1057 points herself, will fancy her chances to take home the win.

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