Last weekend saw table tennis rewrite the history books when a father and daughter won the singles men and ladies titles at the SKW Hall in Windhoek..
Rudi Saunderson and his daughter Reese both clinched the single titles in the men and ladies categories respectively in the national closed championship.
Saunderson Sr, currently ranked 8th, took a lot of scalps on his route to the final – having had to negotiate his way past 3rd and 5th ranked opponents in the group of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals to secure his place in the final.
He came up against Reinhardt Stanley, another surprise finalist, after beating the 2nd seeded Wayne Green. The final was quite a cliffhanger as the momentum kept on swinging back and forth between the pair.
Stanley grabbed two sets from behind when all looked done and dusted, but perseverance and a hunger for the coveted title finally prevailed, swinging in Saunderson’s favour. He clinched the closely contested tie 4-2.
Wayne Green and Heiko Fleidl got the bronze medals as semifinalists.
It took Saunderson 20 years to repeat the feat of his late younger brother Richard, who won the national championship title in 1995. The playing format was based on a round robin with knockout elimination from the group of 16 onwards.
Saunderson almost repeated this feat when he teamed up with Green against Fleidl and the veteran Wulf Pinsenchaum for the prestigious doubles title. It was however the former pair who succeeded in securing the title as nerves got the better of their opponents.
It was Pinsenchaum 1st tourney since 2010 while the surprise of the competition Patrick Beggs and Yannick Bohn won bronze in the doubles category, showing that the level of juniors is on the rise.
In the senior ladies category, Reese Saunderson showed her class when she won the gold medal by defeating Kaitlyn Beukes in straight sets.
The pair met earlier in the men’s category as event organizers allow the top ladies to participate in that particular division that saw Beukes getting the early victory, but it was Saunderson who came out tops when it mattered the most. Plate division winners were Saunderson and Beukes.
The NTTA event for the inter-schools championship is slated for August 8. Schools from as far as the Hardap, Erongo and Khomas regions are expected to compete.