BOTH Trinidad and Tobago teams picked up the bronze medals in their respective categories when the Caribbean Table Tennis Championships continued Monday in the Dominican Republic.
And as a result, both the men and women qualified for next year’s Pan American Championship, along with double gold-medallists Dominican Republic and runners-up Puerto Rico.
The Guyanese men were heavily favoured for third place after they had forced the Puerto Ricans to a fifth and deciding match in the semi-finals. But T&T scored a stunning 3-0 upset to secure the final place on the podium.
Arun Roopnarine completed the sweep by coming from behind twice to edge Elishaba Johnson 7-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9 after 2014 national champion Yuvraaj Dookram had almost allowed a two-game lead to slip before recovering to defeat Shemar Britton 14-12, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5.
The southpaw Britton is no stranger to Trinidad and he defeated fellow teenager Roopnarine in the final of the Silver Bowl Championship when he was last here two years ago.
The Canada-based David Mahabir, who became this country’s oldest ever national champ in 2012 at age 62, drew first blood for T&T by whipping Nigel Bryan 11-6, 14-12, 11-7.
After outclassing Martinique 3-0 to finish second in Group B and book a place in the knockout stage, T&T were brushed aside 3-0 by the powerful Dominican Republic outfit in the semifinals.
Isaac Vila completed the rout 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 against Roopnarine after Emil Santos had taken down Mahabir 16-14, 11-5, 11-8 and Samuel Galvez had denied Dookram 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9.
The hosts did not lose a single match over two days, even when they faced fellow regional powerhouses Puerto Rico in the final. Both Mahabir and Roopnarine prevailed in straight games, but Dookram needed five in the Martinique fixture.
After losing 3-0 against both Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico the day before, T&T trounced Barbados 3-0 for third place in the four-team straight round-robin women’s event.
Aleena Edwards got the ball rolling when the 11-time national champ triumphed in four games and then 2012 national champ Brittany Joseph and last year’s Player of the Year, Linda Partap-Boodhan, both got home in three straight. The Dominican Republic edged Puerto Rico 3-2 for the gold medal.
Mahabir and Roopnarine will be in action today in the veterans’ (over-45) and under-21 events, respectively, and the singles draws will take place tomorrow and Friday. The doubles events were scheduled yesterday.