Published On: Mon, Sep 26th, 2022

An eventful week: Governor’s Cup, royal decoration and traffic accident

Great Bay — After remaining undefeated in the preliminary matches, Teddy Berry emerged as the undisputed champion when the curtains went down on the 2022 Governor’s Cup Table Tennis competition Friday evening at the LB Scot Sports Auditorium.

The Governor, Drs. Eugene Holiday, was not present at the event as he had traveled to the Netherlands, where he received a royal decoration from State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations) on behalf of King Willem-Alexander: Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

During the reception a short video showed the contributions Holiday made to the community of St. Maarten. The video highlighted his functions at the Princess Juliana International Airport, the Central Bank, GEBE, and Winair, as well as his actions during and after Hurricane Luis in 1995.

In his speech at the Grote Kerk in Den Haag, Holiday said that the many changes of government, the constitutional debates, the debates about integrity and the kingdom instructions, including one to the governor, and the political tensions between Philipsburg and The Hague give a one-sided impression of St. Maarten and the Kingdom and that they have resulting in an increase in mutual mistrust.  “This stands in the way of the sorely needed bundling of efforts to deal with the challenges that confront us.”

Two days after the reception, Holiday was back on St. Maarten and he got involved in a traffic accident on Guana Bay Road. The driver of a gray SUV lost control of his car in a bend in the road and collided with the governor’s black Landcruiser. The governor did not sustain any injuries.

Back to the table tennis tournament. Berry, who was the sure favorite to win with six wins went up against Gregory Begina who had secured 5 wins. But in the final best of three showdown with the first player to reach 11 points. It was Berry that clinched the championship trophy and the rights to brag about it after winning in two sets, 11-7, 11-7. Ironically, the battle for the third place between Giovanni Thomas and the defeated Peter Carty went on for three sets, 20-18, 18-11 and 16-14.

After a series of intense matches, the group was reduced to 8 players in the quarter final round. Those advancing were Jai Lulla, Gregory Begina, Debbie Warner, Teddy Berry, Julian Mason, Peter Carty, You’rei Bednau and Giovanni Thomas.

Berry defeated Warner 11-2, 11-3 to advance, Carty defeated Mason 11-9, 11-8, Thomas defeated Bednau 11-8, 11-13, 11-6 and Begina defeated Lulla 11-9, 12-10. In the semifinal round Berry defeated Carty 11-6, 11-7 and Begina defeated Thomas 11-8, 11-4.

After an extended break from competitions due to varying circumstances, it was nice to see how many former junior players and upcoming players capitalized on the opportunity to participate in this prestigious tournament that was organized by the St Maarten Table Tennis Federation.

“The turnout was really great and from the time we put out the fliers, 15 teams registered on the first day. After it went online, it was shared and that enabled us to attract 25 players,” Glenton Pantophlet said. According to Pantophlet, the age bracket ranged from 15 to over 50 years old.

On hand to witness the matches was Franklin Radjouki, the man who was responsible for the development of the game on the island.“It makes my heart feel good to know that I had children playing here from as young as six years old to see them here in their 30’s and 40’s playing now. I am very proud to see that the sport is still continuing,” Radjouki said.

Looking back in retrospect, Radjouki said that the game of table tennis was very popular in the Holiday family circle. “In those days, the games were played at the John Larmonie Center, the Governor was very good and I learnt a lot from the late Derrick Holiday. But I must say that the entire family was very competitive,” he added.

Radjouki who is now on retirement since 2012 said it’s now up to Pantophlet to carry the mantle and will be available behind the scenes to offer his guidance when it is required as he attempts to bring the sport back to normalcy.

The St Maarten Port Authority and Alex Gumbs paid for the rental of the facility for the practice days prior to the finals and the day in question. The 2nd and 3rd place trophies were donated by the St Maarten Rotary Mid Isle and the championship trophy was donated by the mother of an ex player, Maria Eduardo.


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