Derron Douglas, a bronze medal winner for T&T in the Under-19 Boys Singles and Team events at the just concluded Caribbean Youth (U-15 and U-19) Table Tennis Championship at the Parque del Este in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, says he is proud of his achievement.
The 18-year-old Tobago-born Douglas had to settle for a bronze medal after losing a tense semifinal in the Under-19 boys against Puerto Rican Oscar Birriel, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 6-11, 8-11, while in the other semifinal, an all-Puerto Rican affair, Jabdiel Torres defeated Derek Valentin, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8.
The bronze medal was the third such medal won by T&T at the tournament after the U-19 boys’ team (Douglas, Ameer Mohammed and Samuel Humphreys), and the U-15 boys’ team of Sekel Mc Intosh, Malik Gopaul, Josiah Joseph and Ethan Ramcharan both got bronze as well.
When the Singles competition resumed on Tuesday, Douglas battled past hometown player Andres Lora, 12-14, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7, in their best-of-seven sets round-of-16 clash before being brushed aside by the Puerto Rican Jose Nieves, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7, in the quarterfinals.
On Monday, competing in Group Seven, Douglas rallied past St Lucian Nathan Alexander, 11-8, 9-11, 11-0, 11-3; Dominican Republic’s Christopher Rodriguez, 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 12-10 and Jamaican Justin Halstead, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, for a perfect 3-0 round-robin record.
Commenting on his performance, Douglas who had a training stint in Portugal prior to competing in Santo Domingo said, “Overall, I am proud of my performance in this tournament because I went down to a guy from Puerto Rico who is ranked in the top 30 in the world in my semifinal.
Douglas added, “He (Birriel) has a lot of experience, but I think coming back from a one-month training camp in Portugal really worked for me, and it showed out in my performance.
“It was my best tournament so far in my career and I’m really proud to get that opportunity and to represent T&T and to also podium finish again in the Singles after finishing third in the Teams and I came back and medal again.
“I’m really proud of my performance. I was so close to getting into the finals is just that I was a little off in the semifinals in the fifth set where I made a little too many errors," stated Douglas.
Earlier this year, Douglas of Queen’s Park Table Tennis Club competed at the Caribbean Table Tennis Federation Senior Championship in Havana, Cuba, and finished without a medal.
Despite, T&T failing to medal in Cuba, Douglas had creditable performances teaming up with fellow Youth player, 13-year-old Chloe Fraser to contest the Mixed Doubles where they were beaten in the opening round-of-16.
The pair of Douglas and two-time national champion Aaron Wilson also reached the quarterfinals of the Men’s Doubles.