Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Marsh going step by step into 2018

Published:Friday | October 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Christopher Marsh

With the Commonwealth Games, World Team Championships and the Caribbean Region Championships all approaching next year, 2018 will be a busy year for table tennis. Despite that, three-time national champion Christopher Marsh is taking a step-by-step approach to the months and matches ahead. Speaking just after his win at the first Orville Haslam Challenge Cup on National Heroes Day in Falmouth, Marsh also revealed that an off-table decision helped him to win the day against friendly rival Peter Moo Young.

Questioned about his preparation for the likely 2018 schedule, the tall left-hander said: "I'm going to take it one step at a time, you know, get my fitness back up to a level."

Reflecting perhaps on his runner-up finish in the Commonwealth Games team trials in September, he recounted, "I've been playing good most times but it's just the fitness, and take it from there."

The Games, which include table tennis, will be in Australia next April. Marsh, national champion in 2000, 2001 and 2005, was selected last month for Jamaica's team to the Games alongside current national champion Simon Tomlinson, Kane Watson and young Rajni Brown. He may well be in the reckoning for the World Team Championships, which will be hosted by Sweden starting on April 29 and when Jamaica welcomes its neighbours for the Caribbean Region Championships next September.

He also revealed that his win in Falmouth rested on a key equipment decision. When it was noted that his backhand service was a winning weapon over Moo Young, the 41 year-old Marsh explained that unaccustomed hardness from a new racket blade was adding critical centimetres and bounce to his serve.

"I was having a little problem because I changed my bat two weeks ago and I changed back to my regular racket last night," he outlined. The change paid dividends as his backhand serve won points outright and made many openings for his powerful forehand topspin.

Among his many accomplishments, Marsh was part of the team that lifted Jamaica out of lowly Division 5 at the 2014 World Team Championships.