Gold for Orient Heights pair

2013-07-16 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG pre-teen dreams of one day participating in the Olympic games after claiming a gold medal at the SA Table Tennis Inter-

regional Championships held in Cape Town this month.

After her win at the games, which took place from June 30 to July 6, Keshmika Sivnarain (12), a Grade 7 pupil at Orient Heights Primary School, said her hopes were that the sport would grow and attract more players.

“It’s a very mental, tough and physical sport. It’s not a very popular sport in South Africa, but I’d like to see more people playing it,” she told The Witness after school yesterday.

Keshmika said she was “proud, happy and excited” after winning an U14 doubles gold medal in the competition, which she described as “tough”.

“This is my third time I’ve been to the national champs. Last year I got a bronze. This is the first time I got a gold,” she said.

But don’t ask the South African champion how many games she played in the championships, because she doesn’t know.

“I don’t know,” she said laughing. “I played so many games. I don’t remember.”

Her Cape Town adventure ended when she and her partner beat the pair from the hosts Western Province to claim the gold.

However, the Sivnarain family didn’t just have one South African champion.

Keshmika’s younger brother, Kivesh (11), also won his doubles final in the U11 section.

When asked by The Witness who won games when they played each other, Keshmika said: “It’s even. He wins some and I win some”, before Kivesh interrupted: “Actually, I win mostly”.

Another pupil from the school, who took part but was unfortunate to be knocked out before the final, was Nosipho Vilakazi (12). She was highly appreciative of their coaches.

“They push us all the time,” she said. “They teach us a lot.”

Coach Morgan Govindasamy said the young table tennis stars were very dedicated.

“They’re always there for practice. I always tell that what they put in will be what you get out,” he said.

Orient Heights Primary School principal Trevor Naidoo said the school was proud of their achievement. “We’re also appreciative of the support from the parents and the teachers for making it possible for them to excel at a national level,” Naidoo said.

He said he hoped Keshmika, Nosipho and Kivesh would become role models for other children in the school, which has about 40 active table tennis players.

Another Pietermaritzburg-based pupil who came back with a medal was Raisethorpe Secondary School matric pupil Ayushi Hiralal.

She claimed a bronze in the under-17 doubles section.

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