Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Watson aiming high for career twilight

Published:Monday | April 27, 2020 | 12:19 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican table tennis players Kane Watson (right) and Simon Tomlinson, doubles partner.
Jamaican table tennis players Kane Watson (right) and Simon Tomlinson, doubles partner.

ARMED WITH renewed vigour for training and competition, three-time national table tennis champion Kane Watson is aiming to achieve big goals in what he calls the twilight of his career. Watson has his eyes on medals at the Caribbean Regional Championships.

Energised by a recent stint in Spain, Portugal and Sweden, Watson wants to emulate Caribbean heroes like Stephen Hylton and the late Dexter St Louis by training in Europe for an extended period.

“Seeing that I’m heading into the twilight of my career, the time is now, and I definitely want to finish off my career with a bang.”

Watson and his 2018 Caribbean doubles co-silver medallist, Simon Tomlinson, got back from Spain just before air travel ground to a halt because of the spread of the novel coronavirus. They were in Europe, trying to play their way to Olympic-qualifying spots, and did a training stint with Nigel Webb, the former Jamaica champion and international, in Spain.

RANKED 753

Watson now appears at 753 on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) ranking list.

He knows what he has to do.

“Once I’m training, I just have to go hard, one hour, two hours, and keep that momentum going and repeat it more than just once a week, twice a week,” he said. “It should be twice a day to maintain that level and push beyond that,” the former University of Technology player.

His goals include reaching the podium at regional competition.

“I’ll always be around table tennis, but as I get older, I see myself more heading, whether it is, into administration or coaching,” he said. “But I feel I have a good four more years so within this period, I want to reach a high level where my name is called with the Stephen Hyltons and all the great Caribbean players that have taken the opportunity from Europe.”

The advantage there is tangible.

“They’re more in a structured setting, it’s more systematic, they have more opportunities to play,” he said.

Watson has missed some Caribbean Regional tournaments through injury and during a period when Jamaica didn’t compete, but his goals are clear.

“The singles event is an event I’d love to medal in and the team event, leading the charge for the Jamaica team,” he said.

When Jamaica hosted the Caribbean Regionals in 2018, Watson lost in the round of 16 to former champion Samuel Galvez. The match was close and built his outlook.

“I don’t see anything they can do that I can’t do,” he said. “It’s just to maintain it over that course of the game and be more tactical.”

For now, Watson is following the anti-coronavirus protocols just like everyone else.

“It’s not just me, so I hope we can get past this as soon as possible and get back to normal, where everybody can get back to work.”