02 Aug 2018

The city that has spawned so many outstanding players, the most notable in the modern era being three times World champion Wang Liqin; Shanghai followed by Taicang was the recent destination for Oceania’s most promising young players.

Led by Australia’s Patrick Wuertz, the ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer with New Zealand’s Jessica Macaskill fulfilling the role of assistant coach, in addition co-ordinating matters; the group arrived on Chinese soil on Thursday 28th June and departed on Monday 9th July.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

First on the itinerary for the contingent that comprised Australia’s Finn Luu, Nicholas Lum and Chermaine Quah, alongside New Zealand’s Nathan Xu, Zhou Jiayi and Vong Hui-Ling was a four day training camp at the Chinese Table Tennis College; an intense programme but one that was welcomed and opened young eyes.

“The learning experience for the players but also for Jessica and for me was huge. Eat, sleep, play table tennis is for a lot of players outside of Oceania a normal routine and thus, it is great for us to be part of that routine as often as possible. Most of the players from Oceania who participated at that camp are quite experienced with overseas training and they adapted quickly. However, I think an international trip overseas should be predominantly for the top players in the continent. There is more value for the second or third tier to train within the Oceania region with coaches they work with regularly and, in an environment where they feel more comfortable.” Patrick Wuertz


Ready for the training session to begin (Photo: courtesy of Patrick Wuertz)

 

However, despite the detailed itinerary, there was time for a moment of reflection and a look back in time to time to the heritage of the sport. The group visited the recently opened, ITTF Museum before leaving for Taicang to compete in the ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.

“Before we went to the China Junior Open I was a little bit afraid that the tournament would be too strong. Now we won two medals and had a lot of close matches against countries who are normally considered stronger than ours. Particularly, Nicolas Lum in the Mini Cadets and Nathan Xu in the Cadet Team and Junior Singles event played a great tournament proofing Oceania’s international competitiveness.” Patrick Wuertz

Notably Nicholas Lum reached the semi-finals of the Hopes Boys’ Singles event, Nathan Xu advanced to the quarter-finals of both the Cadet Boys’ Team and Junior Boys’ Singles events. Partnering Japan’s Hina Kizuka, Vong Hui-Ling secured bronze in the Junior Girls’ Team event.


A visit to the ITTF Museum was an occasion not to be forgotten (Photo: courtesy of Patrick Wuertz)

General News Nathan Xu Finn Luu Nicholas Lum Vong Hui Ling Chermaine Quah Zhou Jiay