In the world of sports, confidence is key along with dedication, discipline and a drive to succeed; all attributes that 15-year-old National Junior Table Tennis player Thuraia Thomas possesses and has been putting to good use thus far in her career.
The self-styled “World Boss” as she is known by her colleagues at the Titans Table Tennis Club, sat down with The 592 Dugout and spoke of her journey into the world of Table Tennis.
“I started playing as an extracurricular activity in school (Marian Academy) when I was in Grade 3 back in 2013. At the time my older brother also used to play and I have this thing where I always say ‘anything he can do I can do better’, after a few years of playing in school, (National) Coach Linden Johnson invited me to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to train. From thereon I started getting better but my true potential wasn’t realized until I transferred to Titans Table Tennis Club. It was when I started going on winning streaks then I realized that table tennis might actually be my calling and therefore I stuck with it”.
The outspoken teenager who is currently Guyana’s National Girls U-15 Champion took the time to acknowledge her support system that plays a key role in her development.
“My biggest supporters have always been my family, especially my father. He has supported me from the beginning; he’s there at every tournament and training session. Another person I’d like to acknowledge who has also had a hand in my development as a player is Coach Dwain Dick”.
Asked about what fuels her drive to push on, Thuraia revealed; “Self-motivation is a key factor and I am able to say that whenever I’m on the table I keep pushing myself because I know I have goals. My faith in God is also something that I rely on and he definitely helps me alot.”
Keeping an eye on the future, the youngster who is about to enter fifth form at the Marian Academy has her eyes set on a few goals both academic and in table tennis.
“My main goal is to finish my education and be successful in whatever I do. However, in terms of tennis I would like to be awarded a NCTTA (National Collegiate Table Tennis Association) scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in either Microbiology or Biochemistry while of course continuing to play table tennis”.
“After university life I plan on competing in various international tournaments and to play my part in putting Guyana on the map” she maintained.
The road to her academic goals are well under way and “World Boss” touched on that journey; “The road to achieving my academic goals seem smooth but where table tennis is concerned, it is on pause due to the covid pandemic, but I still am keeping fit and I also try to educate myself even further on the sport by watching videos and reading”.
Thuraia who has been winning tournaments consistently since 2014, has a full trophy cabinet from local and national competitions but what she cherishes the most is her place on the Junior National team.
“I would say my biggest accomplishment to date is being able to represent my country at the regional level and the fact that I have been able to make a name for myself at those tournaments”.
At this tender age, Thuraia has bigger aspirations for herself on the table and bluntly stated her ambition; “My heart is set on winning the U-18 Junior Caribbean title and I am bent on becoming the national women’s champion as well”.
Quizzed about who she thinks is her biggest rival, she name-dropped current Women’s champion and world-ranked player Natalie ‘Speedy’ Cummings.
Stepping away from the table, Thuraia’s interest is that of a normal teen; “When I’m not playing tennis, I am either reading, learning new songs on the piano, playing basketball and I love karaoke”.
In closing, Thomas had a message; “For the little girls who are now entering the world of sports, my advice is that you just have fun and do everything to the best of your ability. If you think that sports is your new found love, then stick with it and always put your best foot forward and keep pushing yourselves to greater things, it will serve you well”.