by Wade Townsend
Theo Cogill has humble table tennis origins. While his father was building their family home, he made a table by grabbing a door and placing some chairs underneath. His interest was sparked from there, and eventually he joined a community table tennis centre.
Cogill’s potential was spotted early on, and he was quickly benifiting from the Global Junior Programme and the ITTF With the Future in Mind projects. His talent and hardworking attitude saw Cogill rise through the rank, representing South Africa on the international stage at both the junior and senior level.
Seven years ago Cogill was stabbed in the back during an assault. Half his body was left paralysed. Doctors thought that he may never be able to walk again.
But Cogill continues to defy the odds. Table tennis became part of his physical therapy regime. Through sport he has seen a gradual improvement to where he can now compete in the competitive para table tennis world.
“The adjustment was tough. I was away from the sport for two or three years. While it’s helped me physically, playing has been hugely important for me mentally.” Theo Cogill
The South African is now 31-years-old, and here at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games he is making a mark.
Competing in the TT6-10 Men’s Singles, Cogill had a narrow 3-2 loss against England’s Ross Wilson in his first match on the Gold Coast, but followed it up with a convincing 3-0 against the host nation’s Barak Mizrachi.
“Consistency was key for me today. Yesterday’s match was tough, and I’ve had to train and adapt to the atmosphere on the show courts. But my confidence is building, and I’m hoping to come away with a medal.” Theo Cogill
With the group stages concluded, the athletes now have their eyes on the podium.
The semi-final matches will be staged tomorrow, Friday 13th April. Local favourite Melissa Tapper will be favourite to continue her run in the TT6-10 Women’s Singles. Meanwhile in the TT6-10 Men’s Singles it looks to be a race between the English duo of Ross Wilson and Kim Daybell. Both Wilson and Daybell made it through the group stage undefeated, although both survived a full distance encounter on their way to the semis.