Jamaican teenager, Tsenaye Lewis competed in seven categories of the Carmel Barrau Open Tournament at the Broward Table Tennis Club (BTTC) held December 10 – 12 in Florida, USA emerging first place in two categories and third place in two.
Battling through 29 matches, she earned 22 wins against 20 male and two female players who hold USA Table Tennis (USATT) ratings ranging from 679 up to 2477. Tsenaye placed first in Under 1150 beating 954 rated Damian Casanova in three straight sets, 11-8,11-8,11-8 and first in Under 1350 silencing 1325 rated Jose Renator Goncalves 11-8,11-8,8-11,11-8. She snagged third place in the Under 1800, losing to 1569 rated Angel Luis Nunez then another third in the Under 1550 going down to the unusual navigations of 1495 rated Efrain Perez in the semi-finals.
“This was a good opportunity to practise my skills and test my abilities against a variety of players – ranging from females my age to grown men. I think I represented myself well and learnt a lot,” 14-year-old Tsenaye said.
Prior to entry, she did not have a USATT rating, but this performance will get her on the USATT scale. In Jamaica, she holds the titles of the Under 15 champion, second place in Women’s open and second in Under 21, arising from her performance at the Jamaica Table Tennis Association’s (JTTA) National Table Tennis Tournament held in August 2021. According to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings table, Lewis, in December 2020 had a global position of 296 at the cadets level. While regionally, she ranked third in singles and mixed doubles at the cadets level based on her performance at the 2019 Caribbean Region Mini and Pre-Cadet Table Tennis Championships held in the Dominican Republic. Lewis was the RJR/Gleaner 2018 Female Athlete of the Year for Table Tennis and was a member of Team Jamaica at the Pan American Youth Championships held in the Dominican Republic September 2021.
“I am very proud of her performance at the Broward Open as this was her first individual international victory. With more international exposure, the right support and training facilities she has tremendous potential to go far,” said her coach Dale Parham of Skills Unlimited Table Tennis Academy (SUTTA). He added that “it takes a community to build a champion and more needs to be invested in the youth across all sporting fields, because there is tremendous talent residing in Jamaica, with Tsenaye being one of those who, with the right investment could go as far as the Olympics.”
Tsenaye and her sister Gianna Lewis, are coached by Mr Parham. Sixteen-year-old Gianna is also among the top women and youth players with her most recent titles being 2nd in the Under 19 and 3rd in the Under 21 women’s categories at the JTTA Nationals in August.
National Champion Simon Tomlinson was in Fort Lauderdale and stopped by the tournament to lend support to Tsenaye. His observation was that: “Tsenaye played really high quality matches against players equal to or above her level. I have had a chance to do some work with her along with Coach Dale Parham over the past few weeks, and she has continues to show tremendous potential. I am excited to see what the future holds for her.”