Table tennis young guns have arrived in Bendigo for the 2018 ITTF World Junior Table Tennis Championships.
The tournament in Bendigo marks the first time Oceania has hosted the competition since its inception in 2003.
“It’s fantastic. The new Bendigo Stadium is spectacular and the locals have really embraced the championships,” tournament director Phil Davis said.
The tournament will see 150 of the world’s best junior table tennis players compete in a range of team, single and mixed events from December 2-9 at the Bendigo Stadium.
Among the competitors is the Australian team – coached by John Murphy – who are eager to improve on their 2017 performance in Italy where the boys and girls teams both finished in 18th position overall.
The Aussies are said to be the underdogs of the tournament and will take on players from countries such as China, Japan, Germany, Romania, Azerbaijan and Egypt in their quest for glory on home soil.
Murphy is the national Australian junior and senior coach, taking on the role in October, the event in Bendigo marks his first tournament in the top position.
“The challenge is huge for the Australian team, but for us to play at home means we aim to compete at the best ability we possibly can,” Murphy said.
“It’s a positive and negative, because the spotlight is always on us.”
Murphy said the players underwent an eight-day pre-tournament camp with competitors from various countries, an experience which helped prepare for the championships.
“We will prepare the players mentally so they can perform at a high level,” he said.
“In the weeks and months in the lead-up to the tournament we look at their technique, but during the week of the tournament our goal is to ensure the players are psychologically ready.”
The Bendigo District Table Tennis Association will assist the International Table Tennis Federation during the next week with the assistance from its volunteers who will help with day-to-day operations.
“They have contributed a lot in the way of volunteers. They’ve helped with all of the set-up and with running the tournament,” Davis said.
In addition to the help from the BDTTA, the tournament’s volunteers have also come from other parts of Australia as well as from across the world.
Girls: Parleen Kaur, Michelle Wu, Rebekah Stanley and Danni-Elle Townsend.
Boys: Benjamin Gould, Mateo Dvorani, Nicholas Lum, and Finn Luu.
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