Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Tomlinson seeks match play to sharpen skills

Published:Wednesday | October 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Simon Tomlinson will be back in competition later this month as he starts his drive for better results at the 2019 Caribbean Table Tennis Championships. Tomlinson expects more match play to lift him towards his goal of a medal when that tournament is played in Guyana next February. With that in mind, he will be based in the United States until December.

Tomlinson, the reigning Jamaican champion, will play the Orange Blossom Series in Lakeland, Florida, on October 26 and 27. He also has other tournaments planned all the way to the US Open, in Orlando from December 16 to 22. He hopes the increased match play will give him the edge he lacked when Kingston hosted the Caribbean Championships in September.

Speaking on October 13 from his training base in Florida, Tomlinson said, "For the rest of this year, we want to get in as much match practice as possible."

With next year on his mind, he said, "That's what we were lacking in the last Caribbean, so playing in the US circuit, I'll be here until December, five or six tournaments lined up so hopefully, I get some good results there, and it should get me match-ready for Caribbeans next year."

In Kingston, he reached the last 16 of the men's singles, losing to Guyana's lefthanded Shemar Britton.

"Before the tournament, I wasn't able to get the kind of practice I wanted , but match by match, it got better", he said. "It wasn't enough to get a medal in the singles."

"So, hopefully, I'll correct that next year," he said.

Improvement may come from another source because with his University of Technology degree in sports management complete, he can now devote more time to table tennis.

Full-time commitment

"It's the first time I'm doing it fulltime really," he said, so it should show in the results."

His 2019 plans include a return to Sweden, where he once trained.

"I should be there for the next half of the season, that's next year. For the rest of this year, it's to stay in North America," he listed.

Tomlinson had high praise for his friend and training partner, Kane Watson with whom he won the silver medal in the men's doubles.

"I think he played better than I did," he said of Watson, who lost only once - to eventual singles champion Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic in the team events, and, like Tomlinson, reached the last sixteen in the singles.

"That's the only match he lost, against the Caribbean champion ,so that's understandable, but he beat (Barbadian Kevin) Farley who is the former Caribbean champion," Tomlinson said, "so he was playing really well the entire championships."

Watson took a set off 2017 Caribbean Champion Samuel Galvez in the round of 16. Galvez lost his title to his teammate Santos in the final.

A major assignment for 2019 is to qualify for the Pan-Am Games via the Caribbean Championships in Guyana, and Tomlinson is working on his game with that goal in mind. "I think we can go through Caribbeans to get Pan-Am," he projected, "so we should be able to qualify for the Pan-Am Games."