Lentegeur lad crowned u-19 table tennis champion

Mitchell’s Plain Royals Table Tennis Club’s Liam Beukes goes through his paces during a training session at the Woodlands community centre. Also pictured is Henry Arendse of Eastridge.

Woodlands-based Mitchell’s Plain Royals Table Tennis Club’s Liam Beukes, 17, is the new SA under-19 champion, having won gold at the national championships, in Bloemfontein, at the weekend.

No stranger to the podium, Liam, from Lentegeur and a Grade 12 pupil at Aloe High School, has already competed in four major tournaments, including two national championships, winning bronze and two silver medals in the under-15 doubles and mixed doubles categories respectively.

He also competed in two SA Schools Games, winning gold in the under-15 team event and a bronze medal in the under-18 section.

“The best thing about playing table tennis,” Liam said, “is the feeling I get when I play well and the satisfaction of beating tough opponents that have beaten me before.”

In the four years since joining Royals, young Liam has made quite an impression on chairman and coach Craig Zimri, who established the club in 2013.

“I spotted Liam in 2016 at Lentegeur civic centre during a City of Cape Town holiday programme. I immediately saw his potential and asked him if he would join the club. He has since represented Royals as a junior and played in the senior league since 2019,” said Zimri, who accompanied the youngster to the weekend’s nationals.

“Liam has great potential and I see him as the next talk of the town in table tennis circles. Our aim is to prepare him for the world championships, in 2023 in Durban,” he said.

The club is based at the Woodlands community centre on the corner of Selena Way and Mitchell’s Avenue. Training sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm and all Covid-19 regulations apply. Call 061 953 1202 for more information.