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Payne serving up success

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Payne serving up success

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Stephen Payne continued to be the epitome of local table tennis excellence this year with another compelling performance that earned him a place in the final of the Under-21 Invitational when the National Table Tennis Championships continued at the Table Tennis Centre, Nursery Drive, Tuesday night.
Xavier Duncan, a sixth former at Foundation school, qualified for his fifth final while the top pair in the men’s doubles was also decided.
But the amazing form of Payne has continued to fascinate fans. The 13-year-old Queen’s College student has already excelled on the regional and international circuit this year.
The gifted left-handed attacker won a gold medal in the Under-13 singles at the Caribbean Junior Championships in Jamaica last July.
At the same event, he also captured silver in the boys’ doubles with Tyrese Knight and bronze in the mixed doubles partnering Marissa Alleyne.
Those successes came on the heels of a five-week period of extensive training in the Dominican Republic. Payne also reached the quarter-finals in the singles for juniors rated under 2000 at the Ontario Open in September.
On Tuesday night, Payne again showed his class in the Under-21 semi-final, beating 16-year-old Rashad King, another emerging elite player, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2.
Duncan won the other semi-final against Akeel Lovell 11-0, 11-3, 11-8, 11-5.
Mark Dowell and Aaron Barker, who are set to oppose each other in the finals of the Premier League and singles event for players rated 2000 and above, joined forces to win the semi-finals of the men’s doubles.
The pair beat Shane Norville and King 11-5, 11-9, 11-8. The other semi was won by Trevor Farley and Abbie Clarke who toppled Duncan and Payne 5-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6.
The finals are scheduled for Saturday with junior events from 11a.m. to noon. Finals day will then resume at 6 p.m. until the expected finish at 10 p.m.  (PH)