Multiple SA table tennis champion Shane Overmeyer, 44, from Bayview, the poster boy of SA table tennis, has played and beaten the best of the best in the country and on the continent, but has never played in a tournament in Mitchell’s Plain. Overmeyer will get his chance at the weekend when Woodlands-based Royals Table Tennis Club hosts its 10th anniversary tournament, at Lentegeur civic centre.
Overmeyer was in fine form at the recent SA Open championships, in Bellville, narrowly missing out on claiming his 10th SA singles title.
Despite having competed at the highest level, Overmeyer, a member of the Athlone-based Shiloh Topspinners TableTennis, says he still gets excited at the prospect of playing and can’t wait for the weekend’s action.
“My aim is to help promote table tennis in Mitchell’s Plain and to get more schools to start playing the game,” he said.
“It’s important for me to take part in this competition as it’s the club’s 10th anniversary and it’s in Mitchell’s Plain where I reside,” he said. “In fact,” he said, “it’s my first time playing a competition in Mitchell’ Plain.
Hardly surprising says tournament director Wafeeq Domingo, who like Overmeyer, has been involved with the sport for 30 years and says he’s never heard of a table tennis tournament in Mitchell’s Plain. “If ever there was, it must have been before my time,” he said.
What’s even more surprising, Domingo said, is that the sport has not seen much growth in the area, considering its size and the amount of untapped talent that might be buried here.
“I agreed to assist the Mitchell’s Plain Royals with the tournament as this will be the first tournament in the Mitchell’s Plain area in at least 30 years and I believe this tournament could lead to greater awareness of our wonderful sport within the area and possibly unearth some future talent,” he said.
As far as talent is concerned, those in the know, will agree, as current SA under-19 champion, Liam Beukes, joined Royals in 2017 while still at Aloe Senior Secondary. In 2021, Beukes, who moved to Topspinners this year, won his first SA under-19 singles title and picked up his second at the SA Open earlier this month.
Royals chairman, Craig Zimri, an internationally accredited coach and umpire, said it’s all hands on deck for this weekend’s tournament. “We expect awesome table tennis and I invite everyone to come watch some of the best players, including Liam and others who represented South Africa at the Bricks Games, in Durban, just last week,” he said.
Club member Marie Lakay, 37, has been playing the game since the age of 6 and joined Royals in 2021 after an extended period away from the sport. Since then she’s taken part in the Cape Town Open as well as the SA veterans championships in September. A formidable opponent with razor-sharp reflexes, Lakay competed in last year’s South African championship in Durban and as part of the Cape town Table Tennis squad at this year’s SA championships.
“For me, the coolest thing about playing table tennis is it keeps you sane, makes you strong mentally, keeps you physically fit and it helps build relationships,” she said.
• Mitchell’s Plain Royals Table Tennis Club has training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursday at the Woodlands community centre, corner of Mitchells Avenue and Selena Way, in Woodlands. For more information about the club or the upcoming tournament, call 062 977 3429.