by Wade Townsend
The team events got underway this morning at the 2017 World Cadet Challenge in Suva, with the temperature in the stadium rising as Fijian school children flooded the hall with chants and screams.
For Team Hope’s Navid Shams his opening round encounter was a testing experience.
The 2017 World Hopes Challenge Champion Shams came out on to the court calm and composed as Team Hopes faced top seed Team Asia.
It was defeat for Shams, going down to Kazuki Hamada 14-12, 11-8, 12-10. But with that score line there was a lot of positives to take away.
“It was a good match, I think I had good game against their number two player. I could have had chance.” Navid Shams
The purpose of the Team Hopes is placing player education first. They are after the wins, of course, but seeing every match, point and ball as an opportunity to learn is their top priority.
A full committee of coaches are constantly providing input and guiding the young talents. It’s a global effort without borders.
For Shams it is a chance to soak up as much experience as he can, and he is relishing the experience. The Iranian is a pure table tennis enthusiast.
Two nights ago Shams stayed up to watch the live stream of Timo Boll against Ma Long at the ITTF World Cup. It was a match that captivated the world, including those in the official hotel lobby of the World Cadet Challenge in Fiji. Shams was watching from the first to the last point.
“I like Timo Boll so I was cheering for him to win,” says Shams, looking very pleased with how the game turned out.
Crowded around the computer in the lobby he thew his arms in the air and couldn’t keep seated as his hero made the final.
When asked if he would like to play in the World Cup one day he smiles and says “of course”; it seems to be a certainty.