Guyana hopes to stop Dom Rep next year

first_imgThe 61st Caribbean Table Tennis Championships will be held in Guyana next February and the hosts hope to put an end to the dominance of the Dominican Republic. That’s the sporting challenge issued by Christopher Franklin, who drove the Guyanese to a strong performance last week in Kingston, where the 60th staging of the championships was contested. Franklin promises that he and his teammates will be working hard to turn the tables. In Kingston, from September 23 to 29, Guyana was the team that pushed the dominant Dominican Republic squad the hardest. The effort produced Under-21 titles for Shemar Britton and Chelsea Edghill, team silver medals for both the Guyanese men and women, and a mixed-doubles runner-up finish for Trenace Lowe and Franklin. Franklin, who was the only non-Dominican Republic player to reach the men’s singles semi-final stage, said the champions can expect even more of a fight next year. “It’s always great to play in front of a home crowd and it’s something that we’re really looking forward to and we’re going to start preparing from now because we want to turn things around in the Caribbean region, where you see Dominican Republic really dominating the events,” he said last Saturday. “We’re not too far off,” said the player known at home as ‘Corelone’, “and we plan to put a stop to that when they come to our turf.” He explained why Guyana played so well in Kingston. “A lot of determination, self-sacrifice, you know, it’s something that we really wanted,” he revealed. “We really wanted to have an outstanding year this year because we’ve been working hard,” he continued. MENTAL PREPARATION FILLED GAP Noting that his female colleagues had targeted the team gold medal, he said: “Yes, they fell a step short, but we are all taking it as a positive because the preparation for us coming here wasn’t ideal.” He said mental preparation made up for sometimes limited practice. “Many of us had to work with mad schedules, some playing maybe once, twice a week, so it was all a lot of sacrifice,” Franklin revealed. “Mentally, we prepared ourselves mentally for this so you know, the outcome was good.” Barbados coach Trevor Farley was left to rue a playing-arm injury to his brother, 2003 singles champion Kevin. The Barbadians led Guyana 2-0 in the men’s team semi-final but without their wounded leader, couldn’t hold on. “We started with 2-0, then the third match with the guy who came in. He was fresh, and I know he had a little nerves, and that made the turnaround and I thought we would have still pulled it off, but Guyana really played well,” Farley said. The tide turned when Joel Alleyne beat untested Barbadian Marcus Smith to start the Guyanese comeback. It was Smith’s first match of the tournament. Coach Farley thinks his team did well, nevertheless, and expects training programmes at home to bear fruit by next February. “We’re seeing some good results coming out,” he reported, “and I think that in the future you should see better table tennis from the Barbados team.”last_img read more

E Guinea in dreamland, Senegal head home

first_img0Shares0000LIBREVILLE, Equatorial Guinea, January 26 – Equatorial Guinea grabbed the headlines on day five of the Africa Cup of Nations with a stunning defeat of Senegal to become the first team into the quarter-finals.The 2012 co-hosts and competition rookies secured their passage to the last eight with a 2-1 win over the Group A favourites at a rain-sodden pitch in Bata.An astonishing achievement for a side rated a lowly 151 in FIFA’s world rankings. And they did it the hard way, Iban ‘Randy’ Iyanga putting them into a 62nd minute lead only for Moussa Sow to level a minute from time.But David Alvarez hit back in the fourth minute of injury time to create history for this central West African nation.Alvarez burst into tears when the final whistle sounded as the crowd went beserk.Their achievement was all the more notable considering teams of the calibre of Egypt, winners in 2006, 2008, and 2010, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Nigeria couldn’t even make it through qualifying.For Senegal the result spelled an embarrassing early flight home, this defeat coming on the back of their opening 2-1 loss to Zambia combined with the Zambians’ 2-2 draw with Libya in the other Group A match Wednesday.Victorious captain Juvenal said: “We were a little lucky to score the second goal in the last few seconds! It’s fantastic for us and our supporters. We’re very hopeful for the future.“Now we want to beat Zambia in our last match because we want to finish top of the group.”Senegal coach Amara Traore commented: “I congratulate Equatorial Guinea for qualifying.“As for us, we tried everything, I’m content for my players, they gave their all. I am frustrated though, as we came here to make an impact.”Glory for Equatorial Guinea has swelled their bank balances too.They picked up a $1 million bonus from the son of the country’s president for Monday’s 1-0 defeat of Libya, with another bonus on its way for their heroics against Senegal.Zambia’s match against Libya was preceded by a deluge which rendered the pitch virtually unplayable.Ahmed Osman struck early in each half for the Libyans but his goals were cancelled out as Emmanuel Mayuka and captain Christopher Katongo netted.Libya, whose players risked their lives to fulfil qualifying fixtures while a civil war raged in the north African country, retain a mathematical chance of making the last eight.The kick-off was delayed 76 minutes after torrential late-afternoon rain dotted the pitch at the 35,000-seat stadium with mini lakes.Efforts to clear puddles of varying sizes included the use of brooms, long and short planks of wood and the belated appearance of a machine which speeded up the process.Katongo questioned the decision to stage the game.“It wasn’t easy and I’m quite disappointed the referee took this decision. It was only in the middle of the pitch that we could play a bit, everywhere else it was ping-pong, and we don’t know how to play ping-pong,” he said.“Our game is on the ground, and the ball wouldn’t move. We did what we could – the ref made a decision, a human being can make a mistake.”Libya’s Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta said: “It was hard for both teams to play in these conditions.“I think the result was deserved. We were up against a very good Zambia side, the group favourites. We still have a chance to qualify.”Thursday’s Group B programme sees Sudan up against Angola and Ivory Coast taking on Burkina Faso.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more