By Neha Aggarwal
Wu Jiamuwa caught the attention of the crowd on day one when she lost to fifth seeded Japanese Yoko Kato in the qualification stage by the narrowest of the margins, a seven games thriller, the last game being decided at 10-12. “It was such a close game. I am so happy to play well here. I didn’t expect the game to be so close with Yoko Kato” she said in a smiling tone.
“I want to do everything possible to improve. Australia is not the strongest in the world in table tennis. My dream is that whenever people think about Australia, they should think of me. I want to bring glory to the country I live in now.”
Jiamuwa, originally from China, moved to Australia in January 2015 because her parents wanted her to learn English and thus live in an English speaking country. Australia also offers a brilliant education system. She lives in Sydney and goes to university there studying business. Last month, she gained her permanent residency for Australia which makes her eligible to be part of the national team.
However, her struggle to acquire good training in Australia continues. She says, “It’s hard to train professionally in Australia. I don’t have a personal coach. I need to ask people to train with me each time I need to. I try to go to China before a competition sometimes. But once I play well, I will be able to attract some sponsors for the game that will bring more funding for me to train at better places.”
“There are many good players in Australia who want to do well on the world stage. I am training hard, I want to put Australia on the world map and tell people back home that we are one of the best in table tennis” she explained.
Rohan’s mother is a native of India and father was born in Canberra. He thus feels an affinity towards India and is enjoying the food in Indore. The 17-year old Australian made it to the national team in 2015 after winning the Under-15 Australian National Championship. He made his debut at the international arena with the Australian Junior and Cadet Open in April 2015.
“I started playing table tennis in 2011, when I was 11 years old in my dad’s garage. Slowly I became passionate for the game and started playing in state tournaments” said Dhooria. Since then, he has only been moving up the ladder. He is currently no.2 in junior boys’ singles in Australia.
“I train in Canberra, my coaches are Bruno Levis and Nam Ho from Korea. However, I don’t have any practice partners, I train a lot with the robot. I am the only junior who plays table tennis in my state. I am no.1 in men’s singles as well” claimed Dhooria.
He certainly aims to improve further thus, he soon plans to train in Europe. “After I finish my studies, I might go to Germany to play in the league. My coaches are trying to organize this for me” he revealed.
“I need to improve my fitness and be further confident. Competing in these international tournaments certainly gives me great experience. In Australia too we need to have a strong base so that we can improve amongst ourselves as well” explained Dhooria. In 2016, Dhooria competed in five ITTF Junior Circuit tournaments in China, Thailand, Australia, Bahrain and Qatar. Certainly, that helped him gain confidence and his performance gave him a ticket to Indore, India for the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals.
Dhooria has his target set. He says,
“I want to play at the Olympics for Australia. We also lay immense importance on the Commonwealth Games. I want to win a medal for Australia in the 2018 Commonwealth Games that will be held in Gold Coast.
In Indore, although he did not make it to the last eight, he seemed to be a content man. He is here for experience, which he certainly earned.
Maybe, we will see both Wu Jiamuwa and Rohan Dhooria winning medals for Australia next year at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast?
The target it certainly set.