26 Nov 2018

Just six days distant, the 2018 World Junior Championships commence in the Australian city of Bendigo on Sunday 2nd December; preparing for the prestigious annual tournament a contingent of European players arrived recently in Melbourne for a seven day training camp, practice began on Sunday 25th November.

They are present at Loops, a table tennis academy located in Melbourne, just over 90 miles to the south west of Bendigo.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Under the direction of Neven Cegnar, the ETTU Development Manager, a total of 29 players, including 16 members of the Eurotalents Under 17 Project plus 13 coaches are present in what is Australia’s sports city.

Also attending are players from Canada and the United States as well as from the host nation. Three sessions are being staged each day, the first being in the morning from 8.30 am to 1.15 pm, the second from 2.30 pm to 7.15 pm and the third from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm.

Organising matters locally are the founders of Loops the husband and wife team of Simon Gerada and Melissa Tapper, both personalities in sport.

“Everything is fine and we’ve great support from Loops Table Tennis academy, Simon Gerada and his staff.” Neven Cegnar

Notably, Melissa Tapper competed in both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games; table tennis being the only sport that witnessed athletes entered in both events, the only other present in both being Poland’s Natalia Partyka. Equally, Melissa Tapper was in action earlier this year in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, notably she won the Para Women’s Singles title. Alongside South African swimmer, Natalie du Toit, she is the only athlete to have competed in the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.

Equally Simon Gerada has a quite unique claim to fame. He represented Australia in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, being on Men’s Singles duty, whilst partnering Mark Smythe in the Men’s Doubles. However, somewhat ironically, six years later when the Commonwealth Games were held in 2016 in Melbourne, the city of his birth, he represented Malta, losing to Singapore’s Yang Zi in the last 16 of the Men’s Singles event. The reason he was eligible to represent the Mediterranean island was that his father, Joe Gerada, was born in Malta, the family having emigrated in the 1980s.

Loops welcomes players of all abilities, in addition to the training hall, there is a shop and coffee bar.

World Junior Championships 2018 World Junior Championships Melissa Tapper Neven Cegnar Simon Gerada

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Day 1 - 2018 World Junior Championships