Friday, July 10, 2015

Petermoo reviews Acuda Blue P1 (but not before the usual rant)

Hey guys! Long time no see. Been awhile since we had a talk; too long really. Theres been lots happening too much really.

The good news: After a long reign Adam Sharahba is no longer president of the ITTF. After enduring year after year of his constant unnecessary changes to the game , resulting in constant equipment changes Kim Jung Adam has given up the post.

But don't run out in the streets just yet to celebrate y’all….

The bad news: The ITTF has now created a new post; the post of Chairman of the ITTF (Gosh! I didn't even realize we needed one of those) and has installed (drum roll) a certain Kim Jung Adam Shari'ah as its first chairman for life with a new role of keeping the changes coming without having to worry about pesky elections every few years unlike colleagues Sepp Blatter, Vladimir Putin  et al.
And I tried and I tried to stay away from going into print, bitching about new ball changes and I spent the last several months adapting to the worse batch after batch of sub par table tennis balls that wobbled and egged and bounced and no-bounced and decided to just do what everybody else was doing; just shut up and not complain and let the docile majority play on while the game got corrupted by commerce and devious manipulation of a few .

I almost jumped in when i saw the spate of shoulder and back injuries that resulted from the change to the polyball. When I saw Zhang Jike, Xu Xin, Timo Boll I knew the ball was going to cause a few injuries.

I myself have been fighting a rotator cuff injury caused by the ball change. Imagine my surprise when I found out that a few of Jamaica's national level players reported similar injuries since the new ball came in.

Well done Adam, by the time you’re done, the ball will weigh a pound and be the size of a tennis ball! and the racket will weigh a kilo, probably be metallic and will be covered with Tenergy 195 rubber specially made for the 50mm ball!

But for now, what to do about this bigger, slower, made of plastic ball?

Well you could try out any of the new rubbers ‘specially made for the new ball’, boy oh boy the manufacturers (and their partner in crime Adams ITTF) must be licking their lips for the profits from the sale of new ITTF approved stuff.

They've been raking in the bucks from the sale of rubbers made to compensate for the ITTF glue ban for the last few years but hey, I guess the manufacturers and the ITTF though they could always use the extra revenue from forcing in the new more expensive ball and now, new more expensive rubbers for the new expensive ball.

So in comes Donics Acuda Blue P1. I heard the P stands for polyball, i dunno that they had to say that, the plot is clear, we don't have any choice but P1 I guess will align with the older S1, P2 with S2 and so on.

I got my new black sheet in max yesterday and glued it up with water glue and allowed it to dry under a click press for an entire day.

Again, I had heard the sponge was the same blue sponge used in Bluefire but to my eyes , the grain is finer and it appears less porous working from memory.

I didn't detect any booster smell like in some of Bluefires ,nor did I detect any residue whatsoever.
The sheet was flat, there did not appear to be any curl, convex or concave at all.

Donic says the sponge is a degree or two harder than the S1 and I concur.

Its just a wee bit heavier than the S1 but its not Bluefire or T05 heavy.

the topcoat is soft, thin and the pimples are thin and flexible.

the overall feel is not hard , the sponge and rubber combine to give a medium feel.

Now bear in mind I have an injury (did I say thanks Adam?), I could only play at about 70% power so I will reserve judgement on the top end performance of the rubber if and when my shoulder mends.

I always loved Acuda S1 and I thought the blue sponge in BFJP was cool, so I wasn't surprised that they sort of combined them. Its a marketing winner, but is it a winner-winner?

For me, trying out a new rubber is like a courtship, is it a slow burning romance,  love at first sight? hmm.

Speedwise and feel wise, its like a better, more well behaved Acuda S1: stripped of its catapult top end trampoline engine, replaced with a bigger, better more efficient engine that gets to top end without so much noise.


The S1 catapult has been replaced in the P1 with a linear flatter response perfectly capable of getting to top speed without relying on rubber and sponge elasticity instead more coming from sponge density and overall mass and therefore giving a more predictable and controllable response over the range of speeds. I put it at speed equal or slightly faster overall than Acuda S1.

Drives dont have the pronounced acuda (some say Tenergy) high throw arc they have more of a straighter flatter Skyline arc.

Spinwise. P1 is visibly spinnier than S1 (which itself is a spin monster), my practice opponents, quite used to my serves, were regularly dumping backspin serves in the net and even blocking off my now-puny loops from the unexpected extra spin.

The feeling of the rubber is great; the topsheet is very sensitive and i felt in control of incoming serves and my blocking felt precise and crisp, very similar to my experience with T80.

So yes! love! love at first sight! 

I never though I’d be swept off my feet from just one night with a complete stranger but here’s my true confession. I’m eloping with P1 Blue and I’m not going back, for now.

We’ll see if this is just a one night stand or true love as the days , weeks and months go by.
Out of the worse situations sometimes even a little good can come.

Ittf, retains Adam, continues to screw with the game, forcing me to play the field, even though I’m in a committed stable relationship with my S1, I screw around, but hey, thats how I got to meet my current flame Acuda P1Blue. 

You live, you learn.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prelude to a gunfight “Waiting on Bob” Part 1


Robert Roberts 3 times Caribbean Champion

Normally we Jamaicans are welcoming people. But we don't take kindly to outside cowboys taking our cattle or our womenfolk and we don't like when strange gunslingers roll into out town with all that swagger on a white horse and with all that trash talking.

Somebody fetch the sheriff; there’s a gonna be trouble.

Never mind that the intruder in February is big bad former Barbados and Caribbean champion;  Robert Roberts, Never mind the fact that he is now the pro at the Westchester TT facility in New York; possibly the largest most advanced club in the US of A. Never mind the fact that Bob is easily a US2600 level player( far above any Jamaican past or present) and practicing with Chinese 2700 players and above regularly, someone’s got to defend the City!

Bob with Will the owner of Westchester

So welcome to Jamaica Bob, I’m the sheriff.

In the words of the Jamaican Bob:
These are the words
Of my master, keep on tellin' me
No weak heart
Shall prosper
And whosoever diggeth a pit
Shall fall in it, fall in it
And whosoever diggeth a pit
Shall fall in it (... fall in it)

If you are the big tree, let me tell you that
We are the small axe, sharp and ready
Ready to cut you down (well sharp)
To cut you down

So recently chatting with my good friend Robert Roberts on the internet the following conversation ensued ;

This is Bob speaking about his upcoming visit:

RR: This is a taste of whats going to happen. A video of me and the Chinese boy. Sending now.

PM: You need to open up your shoulders more:
PM: And the Chinaman needs to work on his technique
RR: Watch all of it
PM: Bring him to Jamaica and I’ll kick both of y’all asses back to Jersey

Kai Zhang 

RR: New York. LOL. He’s 2730 (Kai Zhang)
PM: You know Yard Man don't ‘kin teeth…we kick out teeth (Editors note: In English “Jamaicans don’t come to smile and play nice…we fight rough”)
RR: LOLOLOLOL. I like that. See you in February.

PM: So tell me what plastic ball you are using and your experience.

RR: These balls XushaoFa Sports edition 3 star (pictured) are the best. I’ll bring a few dozen for you (Bob, did I hear right?)
RR: Believe me you will not be able to distinguish it from the celluloid ball.
RR: They are very hard to get.
PM: How many balls do you break in a day hitting so hard.
RR: About 5
PM: Wow! Thats a lot!
RR: You don't hit the ball very hard (LOL), so one should last you about a month.
(Editors note: At this point my blood is beginning to boil. When this guy comes to town, I’m gonna go Rambo up in this place)
RR: Its really the best by far. Believe me, this ball is the shit.
PM: See you in Jamaica soon bro.

So there you have it.
Its on.
David vs Goliath.
Jamaica to de world.
Once again, it falls on my slim shoulders to defend the honor of the country. 
I didn't ask for this role. It was given to me.
With great power comes great responsibility (Spiderman2)

We cant just allow this guy to come here, take our women (he's married to a Jamaican! Nice lady) and then stomp us into the ground. Someone's got to stand up.
Robert Roberts, Can you smell what the rock is cooking?
see you in February (Part 2 this space)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Britt Takes Kingston! (And not in a good way)

Recently I met up with Britt Eerland, one of the best  players in the Netherlands national team who happened to be in Jamaica on a few days vacation. She wanted to get in some practice, and naturally, that led her to my venue where all the best players in the country play.
I watched her decimate National level players Watson, Marsh and Parham all 3-0 with some amount of comfort.
Based on the warrior code, (I should have known better) I was urged by all present to ‘defend the city’ and even though I was tired and injured, I decided  to at least try to level things for Kingston, for Jamaica, for my friends (Old champions never die, and it seems like they can’t stay away either).
I actually managed to win a set and came close to winning another but eventually lost 3-1. I admit it was difficult and I never expected the Jamaicans present to be rooting and cheering against me, even jeering me, in my hometown they were hoping I would suffer the same whitewash the others had. Misery indeed loves company.

Among female players, I was thoroughly impressed with her backhand skills especially her opening backhand loop and follow up backhand drive. Even though she did not have overwhelming power on the forehand side, she was very accurate and always seemed to be on the attack , able to counter loop even very strong opening loops.

I sat down with Britt for this quickie interview last month.

PM:You are a National player for the Netherlands, whats your position in the team?
BE: I am the third player on the team behind Li Jiao and another Chinese girl a chopper.
PM: So you’re actually the best Dutch born player in the team.
BE: You can say it like that. Sure!
PM: And what about your world ranking?
BE : At the moment I’m number 67 in the world.
PM: And how old are you now?
BE: Im 20. I went to high school and after that, I chose table tennis as a career.
PM:Is it financially worthwhile to pursue a career in table tennis?
BE:Yes i think for me it is.
PM: So how big is table tennis in the Netherlands?
BE: Its not that big. I actually play and practice with the male players but I play for a club in Germany.

PM: So what is your club?
BE: I play for a Bundesliga(top division) club near Frankfurt

PM: So tell me a bit about your early career.
BE: Well initially my father sent me to many training camps, Including in Hungary and at about age 16 I showed some promise when I beat a Hungarian girl to win the European junior championships.
PM:So I saw your match in the recent world championships. You were in the quarterfinals of the team events against Sarano of Japan. How was that for you? Is that the biggest match you have played?
BE: For me that was quite a big occasion. It was a very big arena and everyone was against me (we were playing Japan in Japan). 

PM: How did you find playing against her?
BE: In the beginning my main problems were with her service. She also plays at a strange tempo some fast some slow. I decided to play back with spins and I needed up playing really well. I was behind 2-0 and ended up losing 3-2.
PM: And the final team score.
BE: We lost 3-2. It was really close!
BE: I had a really good performance over all. I actually beat a Korean girl who was ranked at 15th in the world. I also beat a Taiwanese girl who was about 50.
PM: And in your career so far, who is the best player you have played against?
BE: A lot of Chinese players. Some amazing girls that even beat Li Jiao.
PM: And have you been to China to train?
BE: Yes of course. 
PM: And how would you compare the situation there with at home.
BE: Well the training there is very intense. Its like survival of the fittest.
PM: And how would you compare theirr physical fitness with europeans?
BE: I think they are fitter and stronger that we are. They are crazy. They practice and after practice they do some other training and then they go and do something else.
PM: And who is the best European player you have faced?
BE: I think Georgina Pota. I absolutely hate her game! Another one in Samara, its strange but I actually like her game!

PM:So who is your sponsor and what is your equipment?
BE: I’m with Butterfly and I use the Timo ZLF with both sides Tenergy 05.
PM: And do you boost your rubbers?
BE: No I don't boost. I think its more important to have good technique than to boost.
PM: And have you tried playing with the new 40+ plastic ball yet?
BE: I must use this ball. Since August we are using this ball in Europe.
PM: And what is your impression of the ball?
BE: Its a little bit heavier and a little bit slower and the bounce is higher but I think you can adjust to it.
PM: What do you feel about all these chinese in the team? If another one arrives that might just take your place!
BE: In the beginning it was very hard for me., but i think they are improving the standard and they are there for me to practice with. They also create a lot of training opportunities for me. They helped us to get to the quarter finals .

Pm: Who is your favorite player to watch?
BE: There are too many great players to watch. But for me I like to watch within my own age group so I can observe their progression.
PM: So tell me. Other than table tennis, what do you like to do?
BE: Well I like to dance.
PM: Really! What type?
BE: Well I’m a big fan of dancehall reggae and I like that style of dancing.
PM: And this is your first time in the Caribbean? What do you feel about Jamaica?
BE: Its really nice. Different from Holland. Nice to be outdoors, in Holland we are mostly indoors especially at this time (winter).
PM:  Whats next for you.
BE: Well really I cant say because Im just recovering from an injury. I had tendinitis and am just coming back. After China I played way too much and I think thats the cause.
I cancelled a tournament but I need to play again I don't want to lose my ranking.
PM: Well thanks for spending this time with us and all the best.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

That strange Anthony Bourdain episode!

I must be getting old.

Lately I’ve been taking to these Anthony Bourdain shows on CNN where our hero visits the most exotic corners of the world, Fiji, Hong Kong, Brazil and tries out their most exotic cuisine, savoring all those various delicacies which we get to enjoy vicariously on the other side of the TV screen.
So imagine the rush I got when I heard that Bourdain was coming to visit Jamaica.
What delightful foods would he reveal and what spots would he choose?
But this episode was something totally different.
Quite a deviation from his usual pieces, Bourdain spent most of his time in Port Antonio and Oracabessa and produced an uncharacteristic episode.
Yes, there was the usual food but this time he didn't focus on that at all…..He spent most of his time talking to people about the direction in which he thinks Jamaica is being run.

Why did Bourdain spend so much time showing us how he was hosted at Trident? (the sole guest),  The castle, the strange party, the strange dinner with powerful white men and their silent     Jamaican born wives.
The interview with Chris Blackwell, the James Bond references, Carl Bradshaw and the fishermen on James Bond Beach being told to shut up in front of the cameras.
Bourdain shows us the two halves of Jamaica, the stark polar chasm of economics , wealth and power that defines us between the few who have and the vast majority who have not.

As usual it takes an outsider to show us whats wrong. 

He shows us how we are losing access to our beaches, that those few mega rich people are gobbling up all the beachfront properties and closing off our access to even view the vistas in our own homeland.
It took me a third viewing of this episode to appreciate why Bourdain decided to craft the show in this manner instead of his usual treatment.
He sums it up in the last few seconds of the show when he said its really the bad guys who will end up being able to enjoy these vistas, being able to lie in a hammock and plot the takeover of the world. He’s clearly referring to the government and the few big men who control Jamaica.
Bourdain has done us all a favor.
Remember it wasn't Jamaicans who ended the Ponzi schemes that debilitated and impoverished thousands of us here, it was the Americans.
Were it not for the good old USA, several criminal elements would still rule their various domains over here.
So even though Bourdain didn't expose our cuisine too much this time around, I suspect he has done us a bigger favor by showing us whats really wrong with our Paradise.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

The return of the pages

It’s been more than year since I updated the blog.
I had lost my interest in publicly voicing my opinions about table tennis, equipment, ITTF and all those issues because I somehow felt I needed to give the people who run the sport a chance to take it to where they wanted to take it, say whatever, do whatever and not have to worry about other opinions and voices. 
So what’s happened since then?
Well internationally we have had some serious changes to the game; the guy who was president of the ITTF, who seems to have dedicated his whole life to trying to find a way to change the game, so that a non Chinese player would win, made yet another change to the game; he again made the ball bigger, and this time, he changed the material of the ball from celluloid to plastic. (More on that later)
He also insulated himself from ever being voted out of office by (good news!) stepping down as president and (no surprise) creating a new post of chairman of the ITTF with (guess who?) as our new chairman (himself).
We can’t get rid of this guy, he's taken a page out of Kim Jung Un’s and Vladimir Putin’s playbook.

Which brings me to local table tennis.
I looked back on my post  ‘New President in charge of table tennis’ in February 2013 and tried to find what has been accomplished , what promises were kept etc. and scratched my head to find any correlation between what has happened since then and what was promised.
All that talk about increasing memberships and tournaments, it kind of reminds me of what politics are like in Jamaica in the broader sense.
You can tell the public just about anything!
There’s no accountability.
I think the reading public in Jamaica is in the minority (The articulate/literate minority?) and we as a whole are held in contempt by the people who seek and hold office.
Used to be just politics but now sadly, maybe sports.
The other day I saw a memo from the JTTA about having conference, delegates and events being held in constituencies, I wondered if we were talking about sports or politics. Who the hell, other than politicians sees Jamaica as divided up into constituencies?

Flowers blooms

A few weeks ago, I had reason to comment on his Facebook page that I considered him one of the talents in Jamaica and Kareem Flowers has done himself proud.
Tournaments in this country are a rarity under this JTTA and so, even though they decided to have probably their second open tournament for the whole year down at XLCR high school, I decided to take a look at the proceedings along with the dozen or so spectators who dared to drive down to mountain view avenue.
The first thing I saw as I came in, was a match between the two lefties Marsh and Kareem Flowers. I immediately noticed the strange bounce of the ball and the numerous mistakes being made by Marsh in trying to attack Flowers.
On the other table, National Champion Johnny Kane Watson was playing another promising junior Jordan Smasher Hazel. Hazel was doing all of the attacking but couldn't seem to get past Watson, the balls were actually moving slower.
Moving slower? WTF?
Did the JTTA introduce the plastic ball into competition without telling the players?
Theoretical question.
What would be the worse way to introduce a change, to create the most havoc and the most confusion possible?
Hypothetical answer.
Dash it ‘pon them without warning.

Apparently a select few of the players were training with this ball (which is not sold in Jamaica) but other than those select few, the players were given this new ball to play in the competition having never even seen it before!
To add to the chaos, they ran out of balls midway and had to play some matches with the older smaller ball!
So back to table 1.
Marsh struggled to attack the heavier, plastic ball and found it difficult to generate power as the ball dropped sharply once off the board. Normally his loops kick but they were handled with disdain by Flowers who had been preparing with the new ball and defended with consummate ease.
Game Flowers.
Over to table 2.
Kane Watson like Flowers was defending mostly against Hazel who had recently upset  him with the standard ball.
This time it would be different.
Hazel had no power, just like Marsh, and clearly was not as well adapted to the slower deader ball as would Watson having trained and practiced extensively with the bigger ball.
Game Watson.
In another game, Philip Drummond loses to Flowers complains about the ball change and that he has had to compete with two different balls in the same tournament.
Parham gets a walkover from Watson who is now injured.
Simon Tomlinson is at the tournament in full gear but doesn't play (says he is injured).
Finals Parham vs Flowers.
Parham has been training with the regular ball, Flowers has been training with the new ball.
I gave some advise to Parham; don't step back from the table most of your forehands will end up in the net , the ball  does not arc like the regular ball.
He plays the match steps back from the table, most of his forehands end up in the net, the ball did not arc like the regular ball.
Game Flowers.
This new ball is a game changer.
They used the Xushoufa seamless.
Thankfully, this is not the ball that is being used in real international competition.
If it were, I certainly would not be playing.
The jury is still out on the seamed 40+ ball which is used on the Pro Tour. (DHS and Nittaku 40+ premium)
Soon I’ll be testing and reviewing these.
Somebody is going to have to speak up for the way the game is being managed in Jamaica and even the world.
The blog is back.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interview with Thiago Montiero : Brazilian Legend

Thiago Montiero has for many years been Brazils most famous player. He comes from a long line of great Brazilian table tennis players such as Claudio Kano and Hugo Hoyama.

Brazil actually dominates Latin American table tennis with many of their players playing in European leagues with regularity.
I caught up with one of the greats, Thiago who took time out to speak with the famous Petermoo Pages below.

I have known Thiago for many years as we competed at the same tournaments and I even have a few Brazil shirts in my collection I have traded with him over the years in exchange for my own Jamaican shirts. (We are the same size, even though I’m a little bit more muscular!

Thiago, in 2016 your country will host the Olympic games and surely you will aim to be among the players in front of your home crowd. What is your hope for these games?
The hope is to go as far as we can. We still have time to improve and we want to surprise in 2016, this is the goal for Brazil in table tennis.

Who is the best player in the world today and what do you think makes him the best?
To me Ma Long is the best, the most complete but Zhang Jike has won the most important titles recently. So it's between the two at this moment.

I know you are contracted to Cornilleau and use their rubbers, but how do you compare their product to Tenergy? Do you feel you are at a disadvantage using your sponsors product?
I am satisfied with Cornilleau, they provide me the best equipment they can and I don't spend time comparing my rubbers with other brands. Important is that I am satisfied with mine.

What is the best victory of your career so far?

I can't talk about one, I have beaten a few top players here and there and in important competition such as Olympics, World Cup and World Championships.

Who is the best player you have played against so far and how was the match for you?
I have played against some Chinese when they were at their best such
 as Ma Lin, Wang Hao, Wang Liqin. I played well but they are better than me.

Have you ever played a really difficult server? How did you solve this problem?

Yes, I have played against many good servers.. at the beginning I just tried to put the ball in play and with the time I got used.

Who do you train with now and what do you work on?

I train with Toriola, Merotohun, Diaw and Georgeus in the club and with my teammates from Brazil like Tsuboi, Matsumoto, Calderano, Ishy, Jouti and some others on training camps. Eventually with some other players but most of the time with these ones I said above.

Brazil is more famous for football than table tennis, how good of a footballer are you?

Let's say that I am better footballer than table tennis player!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Interview with Marcos Madrid (Mex)

Marcos Madrid is currently Mexico's best player. He is the natural successor to the great champion Guillermo Munoz and has even surpassed him in world achievements.
Marcos has won the CAC games gold medal and plays professionally in Europe.
He recently played a stand-out match against eventual MS finalist at the recent World Championships in which he genuinely troubled Wang Hao in parts of the match.
I caught up with Marcos just after the worlds.
One of the nicest players you will ever meet, Marcos is a humble yet personable character, a great sportsman who has many friends on tour.
One of my most memorable matches was playing against Marcos in the CAC games in Cartegena Colombia when he was just becoming a great player.

What was it like to play against Wang Hao?
play against Wang Hao was a very good experience for me , because i never played against a Chinese from the national team , also because I was on table one in the world table tennis championship  in Paris  and i live and play there so many people know me and support me there , absolutely a very good experience .And for sure he  is one of the best player in the world 

What did you feel was so special about his game whilst you were playing him?
his game is special because his service is always topspin so you need  to be fast , he have very strong forehand with great power 

How did you feel to know that you actually won a set against the reigning world champion?
when i won the first set my mind was really open to all the options , i think one moment i feel he was a little afraid and i have  my small chance , but for sure the good players know what to do in difficult moments .

Other than that game , what is your biggest achievement in table tennis so far?
i think my best result is in the pan american games 2011 I  won second place . 

Who do you think is the most difficult opponent you have so far faced in your career?
The most difficult player i think all the players are really difficult but  if i have to say one  is Wang Hao.

How often do you play and for how long?
I normally play 6  days a week and  minimum 5 hours per day

What is your current equipment and who are your sponsors?
I play with Timo Boll spirit and tenergy 05  in backhand and forehand.  My sponsor is Butterfly

Why do so many players use Tenergy even if they are sponsored by other companies?
Tenergy has very good quality so its normal all the players want to play with the best equipment possible , good spin , power and performance

How do you plan to get even better?
I want to play more tournament like this i can play against better players than me, this way I can get many ideas to play better  , and of course i need to  practice very hard .
What specifically will you be working on?
I need to practice more in my service i think its not good enough yet , so after this it can help me to get many more easy balls (to put away).

What other sports are you good at?
I play good soccer ,a little bit of tennis  and running .

Thanks for doing this interview champ!

i hope with this i can help you , best regards and we keep in touch .