From boys to men: Boys U18 Singles finalists . From left to right, Dietrich Möwes, Darren Strauss, Conwin van Wyk, Aldrin Goliath.
The Namibian Table Tennis Association (NTTA) successfully hosted their yearly Youth Championships at the Dr. Lemmer High School in Rehoboth last weekend. The tournament saw a total of 194 matches being played for nearly 12 hours which was yet another huge step in the associations effort to increase youth participation and development. “We were happy to see such a great turn-out. It shows that Table Tennis is well and alive among the youth in Namibia,” a delighted Heiko Fleidl, Secretary of the Namibian Table Tennis Association said. A team of players from Holy Cross Convent School participated for the first time, and, although they did not win any medals, they gave good account of themselves. The A Shipena School participated for the 2nd time only in a championship and showed great improvement since their first participation. With 67 games the U18 boy’s singles division formed the largest part of the championships and they stepped up to the plate. However, with the absence of Jakob Machleidt and PW Steenkamp, number one seeded Darren Strauss had little resistance in defending his title. The best match of the play-offs was between fourth seed Dietrich Möwes and local Rehoboth boy, Convin van Wyk, in one of the semi-finals. Van Wyk played outstanding table tennis and took Möwes to maximum sets before eventually going down 3:2. Although Möwes went down in straight sets to top seeded Darren Strauss, it was Möwes who produced some excellent attacking shots. Strauss’ experience, especially the on international stage this year, however saw him home.
The U18 category Jesse Joseph an unseeded player from M.K. Gertze High School caused some major upsets as she first eliminated the third seeded Faghma Coleman in the quarter finals and followed it up with a win over the second seeded Anja Steenkamp in the semi-final. Her good run was ended in the final, when she went down by 3-0 against Reese Saunderson.
Saunderson and Kaitlyn Beukes had a thriller of a match in the other semi-final. Saunderson was ahead 2-0 after two games and looked set for a 3:0 upset over the top seed. But Beukes had other ideas and fought her way back to two games all. The final set was a nail-biter with the advantage shifting a few times between the two girls with Saunderson clinching the victory.
The boys’ doubles produced excellent table tennis. Conwin van Wyk teamed up with Ronaldo Vogel to upstage Möwes and Andreas Fechter in the semi-finals to book a place against Darren Strauss and the experienced Aldrin Goliath. The match produced top table tennis and van Wyk and Vogel surprised the crowd by clinching the coveted doubles title in three 3-2.