Your Premier Jamaican Sports Portal
Watson Believes Victory Signals Changing Of Guard
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
The local hierarchy of men's table tennis is under threat from the island's new breed of players. This is the viewpoint of first-time national senior champion, Kane Watson, who is still elated following his 4-2 triumph over veteran Peter Moo-Young at Sunday's JNBS Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) National Champion-ships finale at the YMCA auditorium.
The 24-year-old is certain that his victory is signalling a shift of power, with the island's younger players muscling their way to the fore of the sport - given the evidence of Sunday's final which saw the fresher Watson overpowering his more experienced rival.
"Table tennis is definitely on the up, and there are many young talented players. I have to give credit to my semi-final opponent Kareem Flowers. That match was also very hard. He played a very good game," said Watson shortly after his triumph.
"I want to restore glory to Jamaica in table tennis across the region, and it's now for me and the younger guys to continue to work hard and raise our levels," Watson added.
The newly crowned champion, who represented Jamaica at the most recent Commonwealth Games in 2010 in Delhi, India, rushed to a 3-0 lead (11-9, 11-5, 11-6) before Moo-Young capitalised on Watson's inexperience - as the latter started to rush his shots - to carve out a near comeback win.
Moo-Young won the next two sets 11-9, 11-9, but Watson, who was featuring in his first final after several semi-final eliminations, was not to be denied.
Watson held his nerve to edge a close sixth set 11-10 to end a two-man local table tennis dominance showcase, which starred Moo-Young and Joseph Dibbs, who had decided against competing this year and defending his title because of his new duties as president of the JTTA.
The three-time national junior champion believes his victory was a few years overdue and is now looking to continue to develop his skills.
"I am very glad, elated, because playing table tennis locally you want to be the national champion because locally, that is the highest thing you can get, and I take the game very seriously. So I am extremely happy to become national champion," Watson beamed.
"I felt over the years that I could have done it, but in the end I ended up always losing. This time around I think that I was better prepared mentally and physically," he said.
The University of Technology standout, who came into the tournament as one of the favourites, along with Intercollegiate champion Simon Tomlinson and Moo-Young, says he was always confident of his chances to win against the highly fancied Moo-Young.
"Playing him as a junior, I always did well against him, so I fancied my chances against him because when you look at his style of play and mine, I felt that I could outwit him and outplay him," said Watson, who burst into celebration following the final point, pulling off his shirt and doing push-ups. The crowd was delighted, and judging by their reaction, seemed to have longed for a new name on the championship trophy, one that may well have signalled the changing of the guard.