A Moment of Misfortune in Beijing, Perhaps Remedied in London

by on Jul.17, 2012, under William Henzell

In the Peking University there was no stopping China as they won every medal that was statistically possible.

The target was set, the goal was achieved.

Furthermore, finding an occasion when any of the three men and three women on duty, was challenged by a player from foreign shores was a rarity. Simply the Chinese were superb.

Arguably there were only two moments of uncertainty. One came at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Team event Korea’s Oh Sangeun led Ma Lin by two games to one and stood at 10-all in the fourth before Ma Lin seized control. The other came from a more unlikely source.

Outside Top One Hundred
The man to pose the problem was Australia’s William Henzell, extremely successful in Oceania and having won medals in both the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Championships, but never having commanded a top one hundred World ranking.

Currently he stands at no.130 on the global list; his best being 108 in June 2010.

A Fluke
In Beijing, in the first stage of the Men’s Team event, he faced Wang Liqin.

He won the first game and in second led 11-10, with the three times Men’s Singles World champion pinned to the surrounds.

Wang Liqin attempted a forehand top spin return, he totally mistimed the ball, which fortunately for host nation hero crossed the net at altitude and landed on the Australian’s side of the table. Wang Liqin had escaped, a total fluke.

The Talisman
At the London Olympic Games, once again William Henzell will appear in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Team event; furthermore, he will be very much his country’s talisman.

He is the player with the experience; for his compatriots Justin Han and Robbie Frank it will be their first taste of the Olympic atmosphere.

Only in Oceania
Certainly for Justin Han it will be a whole new experience; his international life is entwined solely in Oceania; the Oceania Championships in 2010 being his most successful experience.

Alongside Kyle Davis, William Henzell and David Powell he won gold in the Men’s Team event, before partnering William Henzell to Men’s Doubles success and finishing in runners up in the Men’s Singles event, losing to William Henzell in the final.

Somewhat More Experienced
More experienced is Robbie Frank.

He has represented Australia at five World Junior Championships, making his debut as a 14 year old in 2004 in Kobe, when his progress in the Boys’ Singles event was halted abruptly by a certain Ma Long.

At senior level he has been on duty at four World Championships in addition to competing in the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup in both 2009 in Moscow and two years later in Magdeburg.

A Gap
None can compete in the experience market with William Henzell, the man who beat Robbie Frank in the final of the ITTF-Oceania Cup in 2011 in Adelaide and earlier this year in Fiji.

London will be William Henzell’s third consecutive Olympic Games; add to that ten World Championships with the debut being in Osaka in 2001 plus five appearances in the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup, the experience gap is clear to see.

Commonwealth Success
Furthermore, the gap can also be witnessed in Commonwealth and Oceania events.

In 2004 he was a semi-finalist in the Men’s Singles event at the Commonwealth Championships in Malaysia, two years later in Melbourne he was Men’s Singles runner up at the Commonwealth Games.

Oceania Medals
Meanwhile, in addition to winning the ITTF Oceania Cup on the competition’s inaugural appearances, he has won the Men’s Singles title at the Oceania Championships on three occasions; whilst on two occasions he has struck Men’s Team, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles gold.

Success in Oceania; now can he climb higher and repeat that success on the Olympic stage?

Change of Fortune
In 2008, he came very close; he was unlucky not two move two-nil ahead against Wang Liqin

Now, William Henzell has returned to full-time training in preparations for London and perhaps fortune might just turn his way and the words of the great South African golfer, Gary Player, might come true.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”


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