Belize Table Tennis Association       

"Developing the sport of table tennis"

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August 2018


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10th Annual General Meeting - December 8, 2018

The Belize Table Tennis Association held its 10th Annual General Meeting on December 8, 2018 at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium.

Well attended by several players and parents, the meeting covered all reports and financial presentations by the President and the Treasurer.

Elections of officers was also held, where the existing members were unanimously re-elected back as the Executive Committee for the next 2 years. Only change in the new Committee is the Secretary position, where Yasser Musa now holds that position.

Mrs. Petie Matus, who previously served as the BTTA Secretary, has retired from the Committee. Having held the position for 9 years, the BTTA thanks Mrs. Matus for her great contribution to the development of table tennis. 

 Executive Members are:

Tux Vasquez - President

Hector Lopez - Vice President

Marion Usher - Treasurer

Yasser Musa - Secretary

Dr. Manuel Paguaga - Committee Member

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Kelly Liu and Terry Su victorious at 2018 Brodies Strong and Weak Doubles Tournament

The 2018 Brodie’s Annual Strong & Weak Double Tournament took place this past Sunday, August 12th, 2018 at the BES Auditorium, the home of table tennis.


Competing in a DOUBLE ELIMINATION Format, 12 Strong & Weak Doubles Team began competing for this year’s title.

After a full day of competition, the final results were as follows:


1st Place – Kelly Liu/Terry Su

2nd Place – Jofny Paguaga/Mihir Karnani

3rd Place – Wilber Titio Bientz/Colin Wu

4th Place – Rohit Pagarani/Che Waight


CONGRATULATIONS to all the Winners, and a big THANK YOU to the SPONSORS BRODIES.

THANK YOU also goes out to all the players, participants, spectators and organizers of this year’s event, especially our new team of umpires.


The Development Continues…


Rohit Pagarani Wins A Division 1st RFG Ranking Title

The 2018 1st RF&G National Ranking Tournament concluded this past Saturday June 30th with the following results:

A Division

1st Place - Rohit Pagarani
2nd Place - Taye Parkinson
3rd Place - Devesh Hukmani & Latrell Solis

B Division

1st Place - Joshua Gegg
2nd Place - Jofny Paguaga
3rd Place - Mihir Karnani & Daryl Palacio

C Division

1st Place - Mihir Karnani
2nd Place - Parin Thadani
3rd Place - Trevon Brown & Sarai Paguaga

Women

1st Place - Kelly Liu
2nd Place - Abigail Thurton
3rd Place - Sarai Paguaga

Doubles

1st Place - Devesh Hukmani/Rohit Pagarani
2nd Place - Terry Su/Taye Parkinson
3rd Place - Latrell Solis/Manuel Castellanos & Amiri Hoare/Kevin Chen
For detailed match results:

For more pictures of the event visit our facebook at https://tinyurl.com/yax4jnz9

A Big Thank You goes out to RF&G Insurance for sponsoring the event. They have supported Belize Table Tennis for over 8 years now and have been instrumental in the development of the sport. 

Congratulations to all the winners and see you at our next event the Barrow and Williams Summer Open set for Sunday, July 29th, 2018.

Devesh Hukmani clenches his first Don Omario Cup Title!

The 2018 – 6th Annual Don Omario's TOP 32 18UNDER CUP took place this Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the BES Auditorium, "the home of table tennis".


The TOP 32 best 18UNDER junior players started out in a Double Elimination Format event with defending Champion Amiri Hoare and top seeds Taye Parkinson and Devesh Hukmani all in attendance.

Amiri Hoare being the defending champion looked for his second win this year towards keeping the coveted cup. Winning three years in a row will do just that. He would face stiff competition however as all the juniors were hungry for the cup as well, so games were expected to be really heated and competitive.


Taye Parkinson sat atop the main draw while his rival Devesh Hukmani sat opposite him in the bottom half of the draw. 

On the road to the finals Taye paved his way with victories over Parin Thadani (3 – 0), Jofny Paguaga (3 – 0), Terry Su (3 – 1), and Amiri Hoare (3 – 1).

In the bottom half Devesh Hukmani defeated Mihir Karnani (3 – 2) and Daryl Palacio (3 – 1), before losing to Amiri Hoare in the match leading into the finals. Amiri’s quick change ups and superb placement proved to be too much for Devesh and so Amiri sent Devesh to the loser’s bracket winning 3 games to 0.

After losing to Taye Parkinson in the main bracket, Terry Su tried to make his way back into the finals by beating Rohit Pagarani (3 – 1), but his journey soon came to an end at the hands of Devesh Hukmani who beat him (3 – 2). Terry had to settle for fourth place.


Devesh and Amiri met again in the bottom half and fought intensely to advance to the finals. This game was as instense as the first, but this time Devesh managed to return the favour by winning 3 games to 1.

The finals was then set. Devesh Hukmani and Taye Parkinson would have to battle it out for the prestigious Don Omario Cup. Taye Parkinson had held the cup the year before and so he desperately wished to hold it once again. This would be Hukmani’s first time in the finals for the coveted cup and he was definitely hungry for the win. Inevitably, the match showcased some excellent play. Devesh completely dominated the first match, winning 3 games to 1. Because of the double elimination format, Devesh would have to play Taye once again in order to claim the cup.


The stakes were much higher in the second and final game and Taye made sure to bring out all he had to win and claim the cup for a second time.

In the final match Taye Parkinson and Devesh Hukmani played see-saw as they went back and forth trading games. Taye won the first game 11 – 9. Devesh won the second 11 – 9, Taye won the third 11-8, and Devesh trying arduously to stay in the game won the fourth game 14 – 12. In the final game, Devesh Hukmani came out swinging hard. This pressure got the better of Taye and he struggled to remain focused. He eventually lost the will to keep fighting. Devesh’s relentless attacks ultimately proved successful, gaining him the victory and this year’s Don Omario Cup.


The final results were as follows:


1st – Devesh Hukmani
2nd – Taye Parkinson
3rd – Amiri Hoare
4th – Terry Su 

Trophies and the Championship CUP were presented to the winners on behalf of the Sponsors "Travellers" by BTTA coaches Wilber Bientz and Aya Kubota.

CONGRATULATION to the winners and a special THANK YOU to the event’s Sponsor "Travellers" for their continued sponsorship and support in the development of table tennis in the junior players.

THANK YOU also goes out to all the players, parents, spectators and organizers of this event.


See complete results here.

Another milestone for our table tennis juniors - This time Down Under!

The Belize Table Tennis Association prides itself in taking on a new approach to sport development in Belize. Our focus is building our young athletes by giving them access to higher levels of training and to as many opportunities as possible to compete regionally and internationally. The idea is that, while they might not dominate in these higher level events now, they are being prepared to win in the years to come. So far our approach has been paying great dividends with our young athletes now medaling regionally in Central American events after only three years since the work began with our junior athletes.

From April 3rd to April 15 our juniors were participating in their highest level of competition yet at the 2018 Commonwealth Games which was held in Gold Coast, Australia. The young athletes who represented Belize included Devesh Hukmani of Belize Elementary School, Terry Su of St. John’s College, and Rohit Pagarani of Belize High School. They are 13, 14, and 15 years of age respectively.


While on the Gold Coast they participated in team, doubles, and singles events. For the team and singles event, they were placed into groups, while for doubles they were placed directly into a single knockout format tournament. In team they had stiff competition from Malaysia and Nigeria. Nigeria’s team included the number 20th ranked table tennis player in the world, while Malaysia’s team was seeded 7th of the 32 countries that participated. Our boys played their very best but could not overcome the skill level of the much older and experienced players from Nigeria and Malaysia. They did, however, leave the matches with a renewed outlook and approach to their game. They knew they would have to be faster and place greater attention to their service and receive game if they would want to make any significant gains on their opponents in the other rounds of competition.

In the following days Devesh Hukmani and Terry Su played Samuel Walker (highest ranking of 80 in the world) and David Macbeth of England in the doubles. This was a particularly challenging game for them as their opponents were quite brilliant at attacking services and playing strong third balls which were difficult for the boys to overcome. Despite the loss, they were hungry for more competition as they were eager to prove that even at this level of competition they could fight.

The singles event was their last opportunity to do just that. In the singles event they were placed into groups of three. Devesh Hukmani was placed into a rather difficult group with Javen Choong of Malaysia, and Colin Dalgleish of Scotland. Devesh was already familiar with Javen Choong as his team mate Rohit Pagarani had played him in the team event. Colin was unknown to him however, as he did not play the team event or the doubles. This would be the first time seeing him play. His matches against the Malaysian player finished 0-4, while his match against the Scotsman finished 1 game to 4. Devesh finished with his head held high knowing he had given his best.

Rohit Pagarani’s group was a bit more welcoming with Geoffrey Loi of Papau New Guinea, and Gary Nuopula of Solomon Islands. These countries are not as dominant as the others but their level is still substantial. Rohit went into his games determined. He played Gary Nuopula of Solomon Islands in his first match and was able to win 4-0. His opponent from Papau New Guinea was more formidable however. This along with the fact that he had to play on center court in the showroom (in front of millions watching) made for some quite tense situations to overcome. Though his games were rather close he could not secure any sets against Geoffrey Loi. He lost 0 – 4. Rohit Pagarani placed second in his group, but only the top player from each group could move on to the main draw. This meant that Rohit’s journey had come to an end, but not without some great exchanges which the crowds on center court relished and praised him and his opponent for.
Terry Su also had a challenging group ahead of him, which included Marko Medjugorac of Canada and Tauramoa Miita of Kiribati. Terry lost to the Canadian 0-4, but managed to play a really great game against Tauramoa Miita of Kiribati. Tauramoa won the first set 11 – 8. He came out playing strongly with quick attacks that Terry had trouble adjusting to. Terry changed up his game a bit using his opponents speed against him in the second set and won 11 – 4. Kiribati adjusted to Terry’s tactics going for greater spin and dead serves which he knew terry had trouble receiving and won the third and fourth. Terry was now down 3 games to 1 and knew he would have to dig deep in order to fight back his way into the match. At this point both players were aware of each other’s game and it really boiled down to who could execute better. Terry had much trouble serving well in the first few games but knew he would have to serve well in order to get in his relentless forehand attacks. Terry won the fifth game but by very narrow margin 12-10. In the sixth game he was down 9-5. He took a time out recomposed himself and slowly climbed his way back into the match. He won that set 12 - 10 as well. In the last game nerves began to get the best of him and his opponent from Kiribati quickly found himself up 5-1. 
After they changed sides Terry refocused himself and started to make his comeback making sure to stay aggressive and putting pressure on his opponent. Miita was up 9-6 and then 10-7. Terry then evened the score at 10-10 with some quick third ball attacks and a few unforced errors from his opponent. Terry served and they ended up in a really nice and long counter rally. Terry won the point. The whole crowd was watching and was behind Terry, as it was the only match playing at the time being a 7 setter. Terry was up 11-10 in that game. His opponent served a mid long topspin to Terry's forehand but he played passively and tried to block the serve instead of attack. The ball popped off the end of the table, evening the score to 11-11. They then exchanged points and it was even again at 12-12. Terry then lost the next exchange with a forced error off of his forehand as his opponent placed it well into his body. On the next point the ball caught the edge of Terry's racket as he was going for his forehand attack and the match ended with Tauramoa Miita winning 4-3, 14-12 in the seventh game. The crowds gave them a standing ovation as it was a really well-played game. They were all rooting for Terry as he was making a great comeback and especially since he was really young. Terry was devastated by the loss as it was so close, but he remained positive knowing that the experience will only push him to greater heights. He promised himself he won't let another game like that slip him by. Time will surely tell.

From moments like those the boys gained a deeper understanding of their journey as young athletes.They understood that while they may have not won at the Gold Coast, they are learning a lot from it and everyone is supporting them on their journey. During the award ceremonies they watched on as the top athletes received their medals. They knew that they were glimpsing into the future when they would be up on those very podiums accepting their medals. 


The greatest aspect of these tournaments is never the final results, but rather watching the athletes evolve and witnessing as they best themselves and aspire for more. Our young athletes continue to aspire for more and we are grateful to be able to facilitate this growth. The Belize Table Tennis Association is proud of our young athletes and are thankful to all those who continue to contribute to the development of the sport in Belize.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Belize Olympic Committee who continues to believe in our mission and our work with our young players. They have been our greatest supporters and have contributed significantly to our achieving what we have in such a short time. We’d also like to thank all the parents and coaches who put in the countless hours with our athletes to get them to where they are now. Finally we’d like to thank all others who continue to support the Belize Table Tennis Association. The success of our athletes really depends on the support of its entire community. Without it we would be nothing today. We say a big thank you to all of our supporters.   

Devesh Hukmani and Taye Parkinson secures Bronze in Doubles event in Central American U15, U18 Championships, El Salvador

Central American U15, U18 Championships


El Salvador February 20 - 23rd, 2018


The Belize Table Tennis Association along with the Belize Olympic committee sent a delegation of five athletes to represent Belize in the Central American Table Tennis U15, U18 Championships held in San Salvador from February 20th-23rd. Seven countries participated including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Belize. Honduras did not participate this year in any age division, while Nicaragua only participated in the U18. The tournament comprises two age divisions U15 and U18, and in each division Team, Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles events were held. Belize’s Delegation comprised of only a U15 team and included Taye Parkinson, Devesh Hukmani, Jofny Paguaga, Mihir Karnani, and Kelly Liu.

The focus for the Belize Table Tennis Association has been youth driven and we feel that by giving our youngest athletes much exposure to high level play they will advance quickly and develop into strong athlete with long term prospects. This event is the highest level of table tennis within Central America for young athletes and we decided to send our U13 national team to represent us to push their level to new heights. We anticipated great challenges and strong opposition from our neighbouring countries, but we also anticipated for our students to display their highest level of play yet, and this is exactly what unfolded.

The tournament opened with the team event. Our team comprised of Devesh Hukmani, Taye Parkinson, and Jofny Paguaga. Mihir Karnani had recently suffered an ankle injury and so was put on hold to rest for later in the tournament. All the countries played each other in a group format where everyone must play everyone. While Belize was unable to pull off any wins against the other countries as a team they managed to win individual matches and sets off of their opponents within the individual team matches. This was marked improvement for our athletes playing against older and higher level players. The students were pushed to their limits and their growth could clearly be seen moving into every subsequent match. This is exactly the results we were hoping for. The team event concluded on the second day at noon, and the doubles began in the afternoon.

In the doubles we had two teams. Team A included Devesh Hukmani and Taye Parkinson, and team B included Jofny Paguaga and Mihir Karnani. This was the first time for Mihir Karnani playing in a regional competition. It was also the first U15, U18 event for both of them. Their matches ahead would definitely be tough. The format for this event would be a single elimination knockout, one loss and you’re out. Team A played Mexico’s Bogdan Olivos and Leonardo Perez and won 3 games to 1 (-6,2,9,3). This gave them great confidence moving forward as they hadn’t done well against these players in the team event on the previous day. Team B played Guatemala’s Sergio Carillo and Diego de La Cruz but lost 0 – 3 (-5,-4,-3). They had a hard time getting into a rhythm and this was largely due to Mihir’s recovering ankle. They wouldn’t get another opportunity to redeem themselves as with the one loss they were knocked out. Team A advanced into their next match and was scheduled to play El Salvador’s Walter Acuna Villalta and Mateo Martinez. This match would be quite tough as Mateo plays a very hard hitting style. He had given both Taye and Devesh much trouble in the team event. They did however overcome Villalta, and so they would have needed to put much pressure on him during the exchanges. This worked greatly in their favour especially in critical moments during the match. They started the match quite strong winning the first game 11 – 6. El Salvador then decided to mix things up a bit and started playing long serves forcing points into long rallies which favoured Mateo and his partner. Devesh and Taye had a bit of trouble playing the short game and so lost the next two games 8 – 11, 4 – 11. To fend off this tactic they had to rely on being able to counter quickly while maintaining short game play on their serve. In a really close ending they went on to win 11 – 7, 11 - 7. This placed them in the semi-finals, the bronze medal match. Here they played Guatemala’s duo Sergio Carrillo and Diego de La Cruz. This was a very close match, but the Guatemala duo was quite strong and won the Belize team 3 games to none. The Guatemala team moved onto the finals where they won first place. Belize’s team of Devesh Hukmani and Taye Parkinson would have to settle for Bronze. This is our best result yet for Belize in this age division, and it was achieved by two of our U13 national team members. This makes us quite optimistic that we are moving in the right direction and we are hopeful that before they leave that age division they will be dominating the region.

The fourth day began with mixed double in the morning. Our team for this event was Devesh Hukmani and Kelly Liu. Kelly was unable to play the doubles and the team event as she is the only female representing Belize at the games. This would be her first event of the competition. They were matched up against El Salvador’s Eduardo Gonzalez/Victoria Guevara. Their performance was quite good, especially on Kelly’s part. She had struggled mentally in matches in the past but showed to be much stronger here. Devesh, feeling the pressure, made several unforced errors and this ultimately led to the other team just edging them out. They lost 1 – 3. Like the doubles the day before, the mixed doubles utilized a straight single knockout format. Their road to the finals would end here.

In the afternoon the group stage of the singles event began. Each student was placed into a different group where they would have to compete against each member of their group. The top two performers from each group would advance to the final day where they could play for the gold.

Devesh Hukmani was placed in a group with Diego de La Cruz (GUA), Felipe Velarde (PAN), and Eduardo Gonzalez (ESA).

Taye Parkinson was placed in a group with Sergio Carrillo (GUA), and David Monge (ESA).

Jofny Paguaga was placed in a group with Mateo Martinez (ESA) and Leonardo Perez (MEX).

Mihir Karnani was placed in a group with Enrique Ton (GUA), Diego Quintal (MEX), and Walter Acuna Villalta.

Kelly Liu was placed in a group with Stefanie Orellana (GUA), and Samira Munoz (ESA).

After the group stage concluded only Taye Parkinson and Devesh Hukmani managed to make it into the main draw which was scheduled for the following day.

On the final day, Taye and Devesh would have their first round matches of the main draw against the #1 seed from another group. Taye Parkinson was matched up against Diego de La Cruz from Guatemala, the same athlete who managed to edge out Devesh in their round robin match. Devesh would have his first match against Alfredo Sanchez of Costa Rica, the #2 seed in the tournament. The stage was set for some intense matches but our athletes were more than prepared to take on the challenge.

Taye Parkinson is known for his strong fighting spirit, good serving, and his ability to play a variable game. He would have to pull out everything he had in order to upset his opponent. His opponent was aware of this and played quite conservatively, forcing Taye to take the initiative, in hopes of being able to go for strong counters which Taye wouldn’t be ready to handle. Taye played quite apprehensively however, and this eventually led to his loss 4 – 0 (-7,-6,-8,-5).

Devesh went into his match knowing that his chances were slim, but he went in determined to make his opponent fight for it hard. His opponent from Costa Rica had put in considerable work over the past months training abroad in Germany and partaking in other international camps. Devesh had a difficult time adjusting to the quality of spin off of Sanchez’s strokes. He lost the first two games 8 – 11, and then 4 – 11. By the 3rd game he was able to tame it a bit and tried to focus more on his placement, going for Alfredo’s body, to minimize his topspin quality and to expose the open court. This managed him the win on the third set 11 – 6. Alfredo raised his level of play in the fourth game however, moving substantially better, and fending off Devesh’s placements. He managed to win the fourth set 11 – 5. Devesh has quite a powerful forehand himself but he needs a bit more time to prepare for them than Alfredo allows. Knowing he won’t win in the long counter rallies against Alfredo he decided to play quick counterattacks at the table to cut off time from Alfredo and disrupt his rhythm. Alfredo ended up with more unforced errors than he could afford and so Devesh took the set 11 - 8. Now at 3 -2, in favour of the Costa Rican, the pressure built on both sides. Alfredo would want to close off the match and Devesh would be fighting to get to play the seventh set. The sixth game really boiled down to who could’ve handled the situation. Alfredo once again rose to the occasion like he did in the fourth set and played incredibly well despite Devesh’s trying to keep the pressure on him with quick and fast attacks. Alfredo was just a bit quicker and took the match 11 - 4 in the sixth game. Despite the loss Devesh played really well especially against the #2 seed in the tournament.

In the end, the Belize team achieved more than they had hoped for. The junior athletes performed well and hit all of their targets heading into the competition. They showed great improvement in key areas and became more adept at handling tough pressure situations in matches. Our U13 boys even managed to secure a bronze medal in the U15 doubles event. Playing this level of tournaments for the athletes mean great experience and gives them the much needed confidence moving forward. Their progress and performance assures the Belize Table Tennis Association that they will mature into top athletes and will secure much more medals in the coming years.

Terry Su Highest Level for SJC Table Tennis

by yasser musa


see video clip:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g3Hql53K2U

There is a story about Table Tennis in Belize that is being told in real time. Over the past year the sport we call Ping Pong has become symbolic of generational hope. St. John’s College High School is playing a key role in collaborating with the Belize Table Tennis Association to ensure that our young men get the opportunity to practice, play and perform at the highest levels both nationally and regionally.

On Saturday 3rd February, 2018 twenty-four students from 1st to 4th form went into battle at the 6th annual SJC Table Tennis Tournament to see who will emerge as the intermediate and the advanced player of SJC. And after fire hot action in group play and a rapid knockout round the stage was set with Michael Sobers and Andres Mendez in the intermediate final and Latrell Solis and Terry Su in the advanced final.


Mendez wasted no time with his fellow classmate defeating Sobers in three straight sets.  Kristopher Montenegro and Edward Matus both share 3rd place this year at the intermediate level and Amiri Hoare and Jofny Paguaga share 3rd place at the advanced level.


The story of the day was Terry Su, the poised and unassuming player from 2nd form. In the semi-finals Su ended what could have been an unbeatable third straight SJC championship record for two time winner Amiri Hoare. Terry’s serve and loops were delivered with laser like precision, keeping the defensive specialist on the ropes the entire game.


In the final Terry had to face the formidable Latrell Solis, 2014 Player of the Year. Su jumped out with his attack game and it became clear that his form was unstoppable.  He captured victory and the SJC championship in four sets.