Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Southern states dominate Australian Junior Table Tennis Championships

Over 250 young competitors converged on the Runaway Bay Super Sports Centre at the Gold Coast recently to compete at the hotly contested 2010 Australian Junior Table Tennis Championships.

In a week-long tournament filled with tension and a tremendous atmosphere, Victoria and New South Wales dominated but Queensland snared some fantastic victories as well.

The standout victory for the home state was the outstanding effort by Jake Duffy to clinch the Under 13 Boys Singles Gold Medal.

Under 13 Boys champion Jake Duffy serving. Picture: Courtesy of Table Tennis Australia.

Under 13 Boys champion Jake Duffy serving. Picture: Courtesy of Table Tennis Australia.

He caused the upset of the tournament in defeating number 1 seed Dominic Huang from Victoria in the semi final four sets to one, and followed that up in the final by conquering Daniel Zhou by the same margin.

Duffy said he was ecstatic to win the gold.

“It was a great experience because it was the first time I’d ever won a medal at nationals, and then to top it off it was the gold in the singles so it was an experience I will never forget,” he said.

Other especially gutsy performances were by Jenny Zhang in the Under 15 girls singles, and Naoya Yamamoto in the Under 18 boys.

Zhang’s valiant run came to an end in the quarter finals.

The highlight of her tournament was her defeat of the number 3 seed, when she rallied from three sets to love down to win 11-9 in the seventh set.

Yamamoto also competed strongly to finish fifth in the Order of Merit for the Under 18 boys.

Queensland Coach Ashleigh Stevenson lauded the team spirit displayed by the home squad.

“A big improvement I noticed this year was the way the Queensland team supported each other,” she said.

“If some team members weren’t playing, they were often sitting on the bench clapping for other Queenslanders, and it didn’t seem to matter if they were boys or girls or different age groups.”

Stevenson said the week was an intense one for her but well worth it.

“It does get stressful – I was typically doing 12 hour days, sometimes more,” she said.

“But the crowds really got into it this year, so on the finals day there was a good atmosphere.”

Tournament director Lukas Kozak was pleased with how the tournament ran.

“It was the most kids we’ve ever had at the nationals, and a lot of parents were there as well, so the atmosphere was pretty alive,” he said.

The tournament was divided into teams and individual events, with the teams running from Sunday to Thursday and the singles and doubles running on Friday and Saturday.

Under 18 Boys champion Heming Hu launches a backhand. Picture: Courtesy of the International Table Tennis Foundation.

Under 18 Boys champion Heming Hu launches a backhand. Picture: Courtesy of the International Table Tennis Federation.

New South Wales won three of the teams events, with Victoria picking up two titles and New Zealand one.

The standout Queensland team was the Under 18 girls, who snared a bronze medal behind the heavyweights New Zealand and Victoria.

It was Victoria who dominated the singles, providing four out of the six individual winners.

The other titles were won by Duffy and South Australian Vy Bui, who upset number 1 seed Lily Phan in the under 15 girls.

Under 18 girls winner Anna Du was crowned the junior player of the year.

For a full list of teams, singles, and doubles results, go to http://www.tabletennis.org.au/.