by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The player in question is 11 year old Chen Borui; he is present in Muscat representing Scotland.
Chen Borui was born in the English city of Leeds, not too far from my home town of Beverley; for the uninitiated both are in the county of Yorkshire, a part of England so proud of its traditions that many are of the view it should declare unilateral independence and become a nation state in its own right. Quite right!
Father, Chen Tao, present in Muscat in the role of both parent and coach, hails from Gansu province in the north west of China. He studied at Leeds University before moving to work in Aberdeen in the far north of Scotland. The family lived in the Granite City for seven years; it is where Chen Borui started to play table tennis.
Now with work demands, there has been another move for Chen Tao, the family has moved to live in Damman in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Coaching is very much in the hands of his father who clearly understands the sport but Youssef Rabie, the national coach, also present in Muscat, visits the club in Damman.
In Muscat, playing in his very first international tournament, notably in the Hopes Boys’ Singles event he finished in second place in his group behind Sweden’s Elias Sjörgen but ahead of Indonesia’s Erdhanto Wibowo.
“I’m pleased how he has played, he is here to learn for the future; it’s his first international tournament.” Tao Chen
“I think I have played pretty well, I need to better with my counter attacking play, better on my feet.” Chen Borui
Chen Borui has impressed; technically he is very sound, he plays in a positive uninhibited manner, top spin from either backhand or forehand at the earliest opportunity.
Moreover, he plays with determination and spirit, he is not overawed by the stature of his adversary; you can see the desire in his eyes, he is a winner but would you expect anything else? He’s from Yorkshire!