Aussie Open – Day 5

by on Jul.05, 2012, under News

Today was the Final for the Men’s and Women’s Doubles. In the Women’s it was Korea vs Korea and in the Men’s it was Henzell/Frank vs Korea. During the match I was talking to Simon Gerada (again!) and I asked him about what it’s like to play against people like Henzell, Frank, the Korean’s etc. He was giving me the most amazing insight to a professional player I have ever heard. I asked why would Henzell do a short topspin serve. For me that would be an easy serve to return, I would just return it back anywhere. Simon said it’s not that easy. If I was to return it to Henzell’s backhand he would hit it for an easy winner as his backhand topspin is his best shot. If I was to return it long to his forehand he would topspin it back fast down the line or cross court. If I was to return it short it would need to be low as the topspin from the serve would make it spin up when I would hit it. Now I was getting it. So for the last 2 sets I put my wireless microphone on Simon and asked him to do a commentary. Video is coming soon.

After the Doubles Final I got introduced to the QLD Team Manager. I mentioned that I witnessed them walk into the viewing room area a few days ago and order two young players back out to playing area to support their other players. We got talking about how this is a “Team” event not an “I” event. The Manager was telling me how important Team work is and how the kids really don’t understand that. It’s no good walking off after a match if you win or lose. You should stay with your team and still support your other players. Losing or winning against your opponents can give your Team vital information. You know what works and what doesn’t. If you walk off that advice leaves with you.

Tomorrow is the start of the Singles Event. This year the Men’s Singles Event will be interesting as we have 3 high ranked Korean’s, William Henzell and other high ranked Aussie’s. The Women’s Singles Event will also be interesting but most people expect it to be Korea vs Korea Final, I agree. In the U21 Event David Powell will be defending his title and Heming Hu should be the player to challenge him. I will attend to film from round one to the final on Saturday. After 3 days of filming 10 hours a day I was in need of a break. I had a good sleep in and a great brunch at a café in the Gold Coast and then went bowling of all things!

To follow my blogs just join my website at www.pbsmick.com which includes videos and interviews with out top Australian players.  For match results click www.tabletennisqld.org

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Aussie Open – Day 4

by on Jul.04, 2012, under News

Today was the last day for Team’s Event. In the U21 Male Team it was VIC vs QLD. Stand out player was Ben Taylor showing great skill and composure under pressure. Unfortunately VIC went down 5-2. Even though his Team lost the Final, Simon Gerada is as proud as you can be. He said his boys have learnt a lot over the last couple of days and that going to competitions like this is actually a lot of hard work. Making sure you get enough sleep, arrive early for your matches and even eating right! The Men’s Team Final was KOR vs VIC. From the beginning this wasn’t going to be easy. Only win was from Robert Frank against Lee Jin Kwon. Stand out player was Heming Hu. Even though he didn’t win a match he showed amazing skills against players at a much higher level than himself.

During the match between Women’s Team NSW vs KOR something interesting happened, equipment failure. It wasn’t a bat or table but the hall! The floor board beneath the table’s end cracked and dropped about 4-5mm. What to do? Deputy Referee Joe Clifton scratched his head then waved down Referee Dave Delpratt for a solution. Dave looked at the broken board, looked at the table and then just pushed the table over the crack so it was about 1 foot under the table and walked off. Everyone was happy so problem solved! Joe walked off with an “I was going to do that but wasn’t quite too sure if I should” look on his face.

William Henzell has finally arrived! The Open gremlins once again have been giving William grief. He has been sick again for the last 5 days only getting better now. His morning flight was cancelled via text message when he was leaving for the airport. He was then told he had been entered into the Mixed Doubles when he didn’t want to play that event. This year William has decided only to play in the Men’s Singles and Doubles events. Reason? The London Olympics is only 23 days away and he wants to be in the best condition possible. So in walked William Henzell around 5:30pm, 7 hours late and had a quick hit with Sharad Pandit from SA. Last year William pulled out of the Open due to illness. I said he was so sick his illness had an illness to which agreed laughingly!

Tonite was the start of the Mixed Doubles and tomorrow will continue with doubles all day with the Men’s and Women’s Final at 5pm. I will only attend to film the final. I myself am in need of a rest, up at 7am to leave at 8am to start filming at 9am then leave the Open at 7pm to be home at 8pm to watch the mighty Maroons defeat the Blues for a 7th time! Queenslander!!! For match results click www.tabletennisqld.org

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Aussie Open – Day 3

by on Jul.03, 2012, under News

The first match of the day was the Men’s Team VIC vs NSW. This was going to be tough for both teams as everyone is almost the same level and they know each other’s game well. It was a great day for Shibaji Datta defeating Justin Han and Kiet Tran in 3 sets! It wasn’t a good day for Justin losing 2 of his games to Powell and Datta only winning against Robert Frank in 5 sets. Shibaji Datta has had a great come back to the sport after having small break and only playing in small comps and local pennants. He has proven valuable to the VIC Team. Robert has also been playing well. He is getting into some fast looping rallies. For a guy his size 6ft2-3in 90kg (sorry if I’m wrong about the weight Bob!) he moves very well getting to each ball. As I’m the same size as Bob I know hard that actually is.

Man those Korean’s are fast! That’s what I kept hearing today. The Men’s Team match between NSW and KOR was incredible! Justin Han scored a great win against Kim Jang Ho getting a lucky edge at 10-6 in set 5. I really don’t understand how Justin can do the topspin’s he does. One shot comes to mind: Justin did a backhand down the line, ball gets looped wide to his forehand, Justin steps and reaches and somehow gets to it and loops in back cross court on the line 10 inches from the net!? Think about that. Korea defeated NSW only losing 1 game. I was able to record the Korean’s warming up for about 10 mins before the match which drew a large crowd of amazed people! Video coming soon.

Just as the Korean’s finished cleaning up NSW it was Men’s Team VIC vs QLD on Table 6. All the matches were close games with most going 5 sets. Bruno Levis from QLD has had a huge impact on the Open claiming great victories along the way. He recorded a great win against Shibaji Datta winning in 5 sets. Robert Frank got a huge scare from Wade Townsend to win in 5 sets but it was the match against Bruno that had the whole club cheering each point until Robert won 16-14 in the fourth set! While watching the match from the viewing room I overheard two officials talking about player etiquette as they watched Robert and Bruno shake hands after Robert won. They were talking how players now don’t shake hands anymore but do like a slap. I agree, you can tell a lot from a person if you shake their hand. To me a slap feels like the players don’t really respect each other or the game they just played. What do you think?

While watching the last match with Shibaji Datta vs Wade Townsend I was chatting to HWATT Director Simon Gerada. I asked him how his U21 Team was going and with a proud smile he replied “kicking ass”! We got chatting about Table Tennis and how we would change the world and all that. I noticed Shibaji was having a bad moment and was looking over to his team mates for a bit of encouragement and Frank, Powell, Heming and Cathcart were cheering him on. I mentioned to Simon how I have noticed of the last 3 days only the VIC Team were always sitting at the table they were playing at cheering on their team mates. As a player myself there is nothing worse looking over your shoulder for a bit of encouragement and seeing your team is chatting away or face down in an IPhone or worse not even there! This is the level of support Victoria gave:

I said to Simon that most kids would be off walking around chatting to their friends but here they were sitting down cheering on a team mate in need. As Simon pointed out the oldest person there was Robert Frank at 21. He said he witnessed yesterday a whole team leave when their team mate was still playing!? For us this was a proud moment. I just hope the right people see this image and share it like I have. For match results click http://www.tabletennisqld.org/

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Aussie Open – Day 2

by on Jul.03, 2012, under News

Today was a long day. At the club at midday and left just after 10pm. With TTA’s decision to have the Teams Events playing every matche regardless of score means teams are staying longer. Example; Men’s Teams VIC and NZ started their match at 7pm and could have finished around 8:30pm but had to continue through and play every match which meant they were still there packing up when I left at 10:15pm. The VIC Men’s Team is playing NSW tomorrow morning at 9am! Which will be the most important match they will probably play. Understand? Being forced to play every matche is already having an affect of people just after day 1.

Another interesting thing happen today with the VIC Men’s Team. They (Frank, Powell, Heming, Datta and Cathcart) jumped on table 1 which is right near the grand stand to warm up. Nothing wrong. On table 2 the U21 Women’s Team match was still going with only a 1 or 2 games to go. For reasons unknown they were told to get off and move to the tables reserved for practice! This left everyone confused because the VIC Women’s Team had be practicing there before as well as 4 other teams through out the day when it wasn’t being used. But the VIC Team weren’t allowed? Things were almost about to get heated but they just smiled and walked off. I did hear a VIC Team member question the decision but was quickly told to bugger off and don’t push my buttons!!

The matches I filmed, NSW Men’s vs NZ and VIC Men’s vs NZ. Justin Han from NSW is in amazing form. His backhand is really strong now and he completely blew away NZ. One player I like to watch is Xuyen Tran. I filmed one of his matches which was just amazing. He is one of those players that gets everything back, annoying hey! I filmed all of VIC’s matches against NZ which proved a good thing. Every match was great with awesome rallies and close sets.Heming Hu had good wins as did Shibaji Datta.

Some changes have been made to the Teams I and the Korean Women’s Team found out today. The NSW Women’s B Team has been removed and changes to Women’s President Team and VIC Women’s Team. Jian Fang Lay has been replaced by Stephanie Sang. So the Korean’s came down at 3pm ready to start at 3:30pm and were told at 4pm the bad news! So they just kept practicing! Great I thought, got the camera out as no matches to film and just left it filming them. They all hit as hard as Miao Miao and as fast too.

Tomorrow will be another huge day. At the club at 9am and probably until 9pm. Matches I will be filming are Men’s Team VIC vs NSW and Women’s Team VIC vs QLD and NSW. Well it’s now 12:40am and I better head off so good nite for now. For match results click www.tabletennisqld.org

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Aussie Open – Day 1

by on Jul.02, 2012, under News

Today was the start of the 2012 Australian Open. Half the people here I have never met before, a lot of new young faces. Which is good! Victoria has sent a tough young team including Robert Frank, David Powell, Heming Hu, Shibaji Datta and Dillon Cathcart which I believe will do well. The matches I filmed today were mainly the Women’s Korean Team vs South Australia. They are a very tough team with all players extremely fast off the bounce players. They will play the Victorian Women’s Team of  Miao Miao, Melissa Tapper and Jian Fang Lay on Wednesday and that will be the event to watch,

Also playing in the Team’s Event is the Male Korean Team which include Kang Dong Hoon (current Open Champion) Lee Jin Kon Seeded #1 and Kim Jang Ho and I’m sure will win the event. All the males are huge hitters with amazing footwork and speed. I was watching them warm up and they were doing topspin to topspin from almost the end of the court and then would start hitting around the net for a bit of fun! They won’t be troubled until they play the NSW Team and maybe the VIC Team. I bumped into Simon Gerada today who has decided not to play at all but to coach the U21 Men’s Team of Ivan Sulfaro, Nathan van der Heiden, Derek Tun and Ben Taylor and also the Women’s Team when possible. Kinda a shame considering Simon is ranked #2 in Australia and almost won the event last year in Hobart. But the fact he is still here coaching the younger team is a great effort! And any advice given by Simon Gerada is to be treasured! Plus he has a cold too so stay clear of him!!

The Brisbane Table Tennis Club in Windsor is hosting the event and have done an amazing job. A few things I have noticed though are the barriers are really dodgy like the old MSAC barriers (very loose and easily knocked over) and there are no bins around the playing area. You need to walk all the way up to the canteen area, so rubbish is being left on the floor when teams leave. Apart from that everything is running smoothly. I’m staying with my sister in Labrador which is near the Gold Coast so it’s about a 40 min drive to the centre. I rented a car for the week so its not to bad at all and I used to live in Brisbane so I still know my way around. For match results click www.tabletennisqld.org

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by on Jun.30, 2012, under News

Following another great month of training with HWATT; we’ve decided to update our YouTube play list with what is a relevant video for all players to watch who attend our training this month.

A good ready position which was demonstrated, anticipation which we explained and provided examples of during the last weeks, and the willingness to play a block, strong block or attacking shot when returning which the players have already learnt over the last years is key when wanting to improve your results… explained the Former Australian & Oceania Champion Dennis Makaling at last nights training.

Watch Wang Liquin vs Jean Phillipe Gatien from the French League in 1999, Wang was just too strong, he did not move backwards, he held his ground and played some very tough Table Tennis. Gatien was the Olympic Silver Medalist and World Champion only a few years before but really had little chance against Wang. Said Dennis

By the late 1990’s, the 1993 WTTC champion Jean Philipe Gatien had lost all his sharpness that he once had against the top Chinese Players. Here he was a “sitting duck” against the young Chinese rising star Wang Liqin who went on to win the WTTC singles title 3 times and became one of the greatest players in the TT history. Today Wang Liqin suffers from the same fate of Gatien as the world turns

Simon Gerada.

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ttedge at Australian Open

by on Jun.29, 2012, under News

The Australian Open begins next week in Brisbane with both William and Robert competing in the event.

This years event is much stronger than recent years with Korea participating in all of the events.

This is also the first year that Table Tennis Australia has put up prize money for every event as well, which is a great step in the right direction.

William wasn’t able to participate in last year’s Australian Open due to being sick, so he will be really eager to get back into the event this year, as preparation for the Olympic Games next month!

We will be making updates throughout the event on our Facebook page so make sure you like us to keep up to date with the tournament!!!!!.





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pbsmick at The 2012 Australian Open

by on Jun.25, 2012, under News

So this year I have been able to get time off horrible work to attend The Australian Open in Brisbane. Last time I attended an Open was in 2010 in Gosford NSW. It was great because I got to drive from Melbourne and back and I love to go on road trips. This year I’m flying because of the distance plus they are starting the competition on a Sunday? Lucky for me my sister lives in Brisbane so I’ll have a place to stay while I’m there. One thing I’m hoping to do is get more interviews, we have a lot of up and coming players and it will be interesting to see them in action against the more experienced players.

With the Men’s Singles we have the Korean players back again and a new higher ranked player then Kang Dong Hoon who won last years final against Simon Gerada. William Henzell is now seeded 2 for the event which should make things interesting. Henzell has been #1 in Australia for at least 10 years and honestly, watching him beat the same people over and over gets a bit boring so having these new players over will spice things up! Sadly the Australia Open Committee has decided to make the teams events really long. Most matches are played best of seven and when a team scores 4 win first then the following matches aren’t played, makes sense right! Well this year they want the teams to play the full matches regardless of the Team Score. In doing this they are forcing players to play at least twice as many matches as they should and some players might be burnt out for the Singles matches starting on the Wednesday. Unfortunately players like Simon Gerada and William Henzell have now pulled out of the Team Events which is a shame but I can’t blame them.

So I will be flying out Saturday and coming home on the following Sunday. Make sure you keep logging on here to see how the comp is going. And heaps of videos to come on YouTube!

See ya!

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Month of Misery Continues for Jean-Michel Saive

by on Jun.25, 2012, under News

Ranked no.1 in the World, European champion, winner of the Europe Top 12 and a host of other titles to his credit; at the moment nothing is going right for Jean-Michel Saive

At the recent GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Brazil Open in Santos, he was beaten in the opening round by the host nation’s rising teenage star, Hugo Calderano; just over one week later, at the ITTF Euro-Africa 4th Hasan II Morocco Open in the city of Rabat on Sunday 24th June, it was farewell in the quarter-finals.

The top seed, he was beaten in five games by Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9). Best Win
Once again sadness for Jean-Michel Saive and he will want to forget the month of June 2012 but, as he has done throughout his long distinguished career, the Belgian legend in both Santos and Rabat conducted himself with the utmost dignity, a mark of his character.

Ask both Hugo Calderano and Ibrahem Al-Hasan to name the best win of their careers and I suspect both will reply “Jean-Michel Saive”; at the moment that may be little solace to the main who lifted Belgium to new heights in the world of table tennis but it reflects the high respect in which he is held.

Egyptians Fall
The defeat of Jean-Michel Saive was the biggest upset as matters progressed to the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event in Rabat but it was not the only upset; the Egyptian duo of Ahmed Saleh and Omar Assar, the respective third and fourth seeds both departed in round two.

Both lost to in-form Frenchmen who had successfully negotiated the qualification stage of proceedings.

Ahmed Saleh was beaten by Antoine Hachard (12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-3); whilst Omar Assar suffered against Enzo Angles (11-7, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2).

Yannick Vostes Flies Belgian Flag
Alas for Antoine Hachard there was no further progress, he was beaten by Yannich Vostes, the no.5 seed, who kept the Belgian flag flying by overcoming the Frenchman in five games (11-7, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8), having in the second round beaten the danger man of the tournament.

He ended the hopes of France’s Arnaud Dairon, the player who on the first two days had caused shock after shock, in five games (9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11_7, 11-9).

Semi-Final Place for Enzo Angles
However, for Enzo Angles, it was better news, he booked his place in the semi-finals by overcoming colleague, Michel Martinez, the no.6 seed, in six games (11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Thus for three of the top four seeds, there was no place in the semi-finals; the only one of the elite quartet to book a penultimate round place was Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan.

Progress to Penultimate Round
He beat younger brother Nima Alamian in five games in round two (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5), before overcoming French qualifier, Benjamin Brossier, in the round the last eight in four straight games (11-7, 13-11, 12-10, 11-5).

One round earlier, Benjamin Brossier had ended Moroccan hopes, he beat Mounaim Tirselt, the no.8 seed in four straight games (11-4, 12-10, 11-9, 13-11).

At the semi-final stage, Ibrahem Al-Hasan meets Enzo Angles; Noshad Alamiyan confronts Yannick Vostes.

Play concludes on Monday 25th June 2012.

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Para Table Tennis Player Carries Olympic Torch in North of England

by on Jun.17, 2012, under News

Andrew Harper is the latest table tennis player to carry the Olympic Torch, as the coveted Games emblem moves through the north west of England.

He is from Newton-le-Willows, a small market town which is situated about 15 miles from both Manchester and Liverpool.

On Friday 1st June 2012 he carried the Torch through Horwich, a town located in Bolton in Greater Manchester.

A member of Warrington Table Tennis Club, Andrew Harper sets an example to all with his dedicated attitude which makes light of his disability.

Cerebral Palsy
He was born with left hemi cerebral palsy.

“With determination he is now a member of the development squad of the Great Britain Table Tennis Association for the Disabled Team”, explained Karen Tonge M.B.E. and the North West Regional Chair for the English Table Tennis Association.

Overcome Disabilities
“He has learned to overcome his disability; in addition to table tennis he plays the guitar and snooker”, continued Karen Tonge. “He was bullied at school but with his positive attitude he achieved the required the GCSE and Advanced Level results needed to enable him to go to Manchester University to study Mathematics.”

GCSE is the General Certificate of Education which students in England sit usually at the age of 16 years; Advanced Level examinations are usually taken at the 18 years of age and serve primarily as an entrance to university.

Deserved Reward
“Andrew always gives one hundred per cent and to be part of this fantastic event is a well-deserved reward”, added Karen Tonge. “Now aged 20, Andrew has represented the North West Region at United Kingdom School Games where he won Gold in 2007 and became Champion Ambassador in 2009.”

Current Ranking
There is more.

“He is ranked no.7 in Great Britain in Men’s Class 7”, concluded Karen Tonge. “The result is that he has received Talented Athlete Funding.”

Class 7 is a Standing Class, Class 1 to Class 5 is for wheelchair athletes; Class 6 to Class 10 is for standing athletes and Class 11 for those with an intellectual disability.

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