Independence Games Athlete Profile – Table Tennis Featuring: Tyrese Knight

“Hard work beats talent. I know I have the talent but if I don’t put in the work, then I will not achieve anything or reach my full potential.”

And this is why Tyrese Knight can often be found on the table-tennis court practising his serve and improving his technique.

He has been playing table tennis for the past five years after giving up football to focus solely on the sport, he said is “addictive to play”.

“I used to play cricket and football for my primary school team. I also used to play for Kickstart football club, and I was pretty good at it but I knew that table tennis was better for me,” he said.

He noted that is was the mental aspect of the game which kept him on his toes and taught him how to be quick on his feet. “It’s more of a mind game. You have to be quick and ready all the time to return the ball. You always have to be on point, your technique has to be good; it’s a fast sport,” he noted.

Tyrese came third at his first Senior Tour Championships in September, in the Dominican Republic, and said while it was a great experience, he hoped to do better next time.

The 17-year-old, who wants to be a pilot, said he wanted to see table tennis in more of the local schools curriculum. “Some of the schools have a table tennis programme but the sport should be in more,”he noted, “I would like to see more children play instead of the older guys so that the young people can make an impact on the international scene.”

The Manchester United fan added that he wanted to be the first Barbadian to represent the country in table tennis at the Olympics, and was willing to train just as hard as his overseas counterparts. “I would like for us to have a team at the Olympics but we have to get out and train more,” he said, “The people who we compete against go to tennis school; they are always training so we may have to go overseas and train at that level to get better.”