Homer continues ascendancy
By Edison Jefford
Up and coming table tennis star, Jamaali Homer continued her ascendancy in Jamaica at the Pre-Cadets Caribbean Championships when she tallied four medals to help the Guyanese contingent to a historical overall title ahead of the strong Dominican Republic.
“I am satisfied with my performance, more so the two gold medals. I am not quite happy with the silver and bronze because both were games that I could have won,” Homer told Kaieteur Sport in an interview yesterday. The team returned to Guyana last week.
Homer won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal to ratify
the belief that she is on top of her game. Overall, Guyana won five gold medals, five silver and eight bronze medals that ensured them a total of 48 points that gave them the overall title.
Homer, who is the current national Under-13 Champion, was a critical part of that success which was unprecedented. She, along with Priscilla Greaves and Kristie Lopes won an Under-13 team gold medal after beating Jamaica 3-1 in the deciding match.
The 13-year-old Marian Academy student and member of the Malteenoes Sports Club also won a gold medal in the U-13 Girls Doubles contest when she teamed up with Greaves; Homer then got on the podium again with a silver medal in the Mixed Doubles with partner Kyle Edghill; she got a third medal, a bronze, in the U-13 Singles competition.
The rising player believes that she could have been draped in all gold if she had controlled what she called “nervousness” well enough. “Seriously, I could have captured that (Singles) gold, but nervousness stepped in when I saw I had to play the girl from the Dominican Republic,” she said.
Asked what stood out for her on the tour, interestingly she mentioned being able to bounce back from two games down in the team competition and win 3-2 in a critical match that helped Guyana secure gold; she said she just could not have found a similar resolve up nine points in the final set against the Dominican Republic player.
“In my head I was up nine points, I didn’t focus on what my Coach (Idi Lewis) told me, I was just focusing on getting the game over,” Homer said. Her father, who was in Jamaica to watch her compete, also believes that nerves affected the player.
Renford Homer indicated that the Dominican Republic’s players are usually aggressive and the sometimes timid Homer saw her opponent in action before and that raised some amount of fear in her. Homer’s father believed that his daughter needed mental toughness.
“To a great extent, her nerves played a great part in the outcome of the singles competition. Idi tried his best to speak to Jamaali, to get her to overcome those feelings and indeed the game got a lot better as it progressed, but by that time the game could have gone in any direction. She had a chance of closing it off, but it didn’t work that way,” her father noted.
However, he stated that Jamaali continues to make the family proud. He said he is completely satisfied with her steady progression from the time she started playing to now. Homer believes that once the player continues to build on the three pillars established for her that are academics, table tennis and her Christianity, she will be able to consistently succeed.
Her performance in Jamaica in the Singles competition has qualified her for the Latin American Championships along with Greaves, who placed second, in Venezuela in November. Homer was grateful for the support she received from her parents, Renford and Joanna Homer, sponsors and coaches.
She also thanked the Guyana Table Tennis Association and the World Vision Church of God for their support. Homer said that she is currently training for the upcoming National Championships scheduled for later this month.