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US stint lifts Riley

Philip Hackett

US stint lifts Riley

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With two age groups championships secured in the United States recently, Anthonette Riley is looking to continue her move up the rankings in the US and throughout the Caribbean.
The talented 14-year-old Combermerian won the 15-16 junior title and placed third in the 13-14 age group during a stint in the United States and now, inspired by the success and training received from three top Barbadian coaches, she is looking forward to even more meaningful challenges over the next few months.
That’s the word coming from her father and coach Peter “German” Riley, himself an avid table tennis player. Riley, a former Division One competitor, now competes in Division Two for the Flash Media Photos Rising Sun “A”, a team that also includes his daughter.
“There were very good tournaments for her because she would have played people with different styles, different rubbers and that sort of thing,” Riley told MIDWEEK SPORT.
Riley was referring to the junior tournaments that included male and female players, some of them with higher ratings than Anthonette.
“That’s the US style, competitions with players according to their ratings, male and female,” Riley said while expressing great satisfaction with the quality of the competition.
“I find that the standard of table tennis in the US is improving. You have youngsters 13 and 14 who are 1 700 or 1 800 (ranked) players,” he said.
Riley said that Xavier Duncan, a 17-year-old who plays between Division One and Premier League in Barbados, is rated between 1 600 and 1 700. According to the senior Riley, Anthonette’s current rating is 1 395.
While Anthonette benefitted from the US competition, the primary reason for her trip was to capitalize on the opportunity to train at the Westchester Table Tennis Club in New York.
The opportunity arose out of Riley’s connection with club manager Robert Roberts, the former Barbados player and three-time Caribbean singles champion.
The high-powered coaching squad also included Rawle Alleyne, the former Barbados national coach and former Barbados national champion Gregory Riley, who lives in North Carolina but made the trip to New York to assist with Anthonette’s training programme.
“He (Gregory Riley) plans to come over whenever she goes back to New York,” Peter Riley said.
Alleyne, who holds a university degree in kinesiology (the scientific study of human movement); is a full-time coach at the club.
Peter Riley also revealed that Roberts who is rated around 2 500, is still playing a fairly high level of table tennis.
“They (Roberts, Alleyne and Gregory Riley) were all helping with Anthonette’s training.
“We were going to the club every day from around 3 o’clock and we were not leaving until around 11 p.m.,” he said.
Peter Riley is hoping that Anthonette, who missed out on the World Team Championship in Dortmund, Germany, last month, will be able to make the Barbados team for the Caribbean Championships this summer either as a member of the senior squad or in the Under-21 category.
He is also making every effort to get Anthonette to compete on the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) junior circuit.
“The plan hopefully is to get to the US Open in Michigan (an ITTF tournament) around the end of June and if possible to go for more training at Westchester Table Tennis Club. Then the ITTF events move to Guatemala and El Salvador around July and August,” said Riley.