• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

Another big day at the Table Tennis

All 6 tables were alive and thriving at the Harvest Centre. The first stage of the Men’s and Women’s Singles Table Tennis began with 8 groups of players in each category.

The countries dominating the competition today included Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu (also medallists in the team events). 

Surprise standout for the women’s tournament was Popua Langi Luseane of Tonga.

Immediately after being defeated by Lorie La of New Caledonia 3-2, Luseane pulled out a win against Papua New Guinea’s Leah Taru, 3-1.

When asked what was going through her head during the second match, Luseane replied, “It was surprising…I thought I was going to lose because I was so tired, but the first thing that popped in my mind was my family and they tell me to never give up.” 

The Para-sport table tennis players from Tuvalu also came out victorious in several matches, making a splash here with their fervour and team spirit. 

The qualifiers and semi-finals for the para table tennis tournament will both take place on Friday July 12 with medal matches on Saturday.

The final event for the day was the start of the mixed doubles tournament. Although these players have been competing all day, the energy and hunger for gold are still evident. 

Amazing performance by one of the mixed doubles teams from Fiji, Jai Chauhan (age 13) and Loata Duncan (age 16). With a  0-1 deficit, the two managed to fight back and win the match 3-2.

Jai says of their change in strategy, “Making smart moves. Not always strong…you have to play with your mind as well.” 

Of all the teams they could possibly face, Jai voiced nerves about playing against Vanuatu because “they have a stronger team.” 

This is their first appearance at the Games and both Jai and Loata are feeling one thing more than anything else, excited.

The pair plans on focusing on their topspin, “...try to make it stronger, not slow. so other countries can’t counter our attack.” 

Source: Samoa 2019

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