Bhana keeps title after beating tough opposition

DIPAL Bhana retained his men's singles title in the Nelson Mandela Bay Table Tennis premier division tournament at the Malabar Community Centre last weekend.

En route to clinching his spot in the final he was forced to overcome some strong opposition.

However, with youth on his side, he emerged unscathed, including a win over national over-50 gold medalist Monde Cola.

In the final, the 19-year-old Bhana underlined his talent by defeating second seed Michael de Kock 3-1.

Although De Kock made a flying start by winning the first game 11-1, Bhana again proved to be the player for the big occasion.

His ability to execute devastating top spins, lobs, chop-blocks and loop drives proved too good for De Kock and he took the next three games 11-7 11-5 11-4.

In the hard-fought doubles event, Olympia's Monde Cola and Selvan Sammy came up against Booysens Pride pair Michael de Kock and Vernal Higgins in the final.

Both pairs produced table tennis of a high standard, but the fighting spirit of Cola and Sammy saw them overcome a 2-0 deficit to defeat the champions 11-13 9-11 11-3 11-9 11-7.

In the first division singles event, Wynand van Eyk (St Mark and St John) had his hands full against Prishen Ryan (NMMU).

Van Eyk took the first game, but then trailed 2-1 before hitting back for an 11-7 7-11 9-11 11-8 11-8 win.

In the first division doubles, up-and-coming youngsters Zeenal Bhana and Philo Moodaley lost the first game against Wynand van Eyk and Dion Muller, but then found their rhythm to clinch the title with a 3-1 result, 11-13 11-8 11-8 11-6.