Homer is on top of her game
By Edison Jefford
The adage that suggests that patience is virtue may be true for some while archaic for others, but in the context of someone who has literally emerged from the shadows of others to holding form locally and internationally, that maxim is more than just an aphorism.
Jamaali Homer has watched her fading shadow in the burgeoning light of others disappear into a distinct brightness of its own over the last eight months. Her ascendancy in table tennis has been attributed to her personal discipline and correction of technical flaws.
“I have watched people I have grown up with, succeed in tennis; I have watched them grow and I have watched myself grow as well. Now I’m performing at a high level and I think that my game is right up there,” Homer told Kaieteur Sport in an exclusive interview.
The somewhat quiet table tennis player, who has to be sometimes prodded psychologically to get insight into her career, believes that once she continues to be focused and gets the kind of contact necessary to succeed, her ascendancy will continue at its current rapid pace.
“Once I get the kind of training and exposure I know I can be one of the best players in Guyana,” the 13-year-old Marian Academy student asserted. Her astonishing record has to do with the fact that she has not lost a major final in or out of Guyana in the last eight months.
Homer is the current National Under-13 Champion, following which she went on to capture the Mashramani and Independence titles on the local circuit while internationally, she won the U-13 title at the Silver Bowl Junior Championships in Trinidad and Tobago.
Her rally to the apex began in early December when she defeated Priscilla Greaves to secure her first national title. It was sustained in February at the Mashramani competition when she got the better of Greaves again. Her rich form continued in the Twin Island Republic.
Homer defeated Nalini Boodoo in Trinidad to win the U-13 title at the Silver Bowl before taking the Independence title last weekend. She received the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) President’s Award for her performance in the Independence competition.
Homer is on top of her game and is enjoying the success. She told this newspaper that her psyche is on the Caribbean Junior Championships in Jamaica, July 20-25, and with her current trajectory there could be a regional medal on the horizon once she remains committed.
“When I started playing my aim was to play at the World Championships, but I know that would require a lot of work. Here I am now, preparing for the Caribbean Championship. I’ll accept that, but I am still thinking of my bigger goals,” the ambitious player continued.
She said that the Malteenoes Sports Club, to which she is attached under Idi Lewis, has been the right revelation for her game. “It’s more disciplined, you can’t do certain things, you have to take the sessions seriously and you can’t do half-way sessions,” she informed.
Her Coach, Lewis said that her work ethic and commitment to the sport is good, which is one of the reasons she continues to evolve as a definite force in the sport. He said that they are working on refining her technique ahead of the Caribbean Championships in Jamaica.
“We really started working last year and we discovered some problems that she was having. We ironed some of them out, which is why she is playing at the level she is right now. Now it’s time to tackle the Caribbean Championships in a couple of weeks’ time,” Lewis noted.
Homer did not just arrive at the top, she had the necessary structure. Her grades are good and her club structure is intact. Then, as added inspiration, she benefits from the mentorship of the World Vision Church of God, which accommodates her family on a regular basis.
She is a well-rounded athlete and her mother, Joanna Homer, has the confidence that she will be the ultimate role-model. “Since she has moved from playing ping pong to table tennis as I would say, she has also shown a parallel in her improvement in school work,” her mom said.
In addition, her mother indicated that Jamaali handles responsibility very well. “Our family value about training her is that she must be a leader,” Mrs Homer disclosed. What has become pellucid is that Jamaali is already a leader in an individually demanding sport.