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Table tennis success still to come

28 October 2013

TABLE TENNIS: Australian table tennis coach Jens Lang says he saw enough good things during this weekend’s Hyundai Bennelong Cup to feel confident Australia can win medals in Glasgow next year.

Despite Australia finishing bottom of the four-team competition, behind China, Japan and Korea, Lang says he came away satisfied.

“We proved that we’re competitive, and we know the things we have to work on and improve on,” Lang said.

“Every match, every event, every competition gets me, or gets the team, a bit closer to understanding what the best combination is, what the best players are and so on. But it’s still a long way to go until the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and like I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do and we know what we need to do, so that’s what we’ll do.”

Australia will take a team of five men and five women to Glasgow next year, with the final line-up expected to be announced in late February. Coach Lang believes there’s every chance Australia can once again be in the medals mix.

“If I was happy or satisfied now there’s always the danger of getting lazy or something so I always strive for improvement,” Lang said.

“If we want to win medals in Glasgow then we need to improve so that’s what we’ll aim to do.”

Among the positive signs for Australia on the weekend was the form of debutant Chris Yan.

After a nervous 3-nil loss against China in his first outing, the New South Wales youngster than won his next two singles matches against highly regarded opponents from Korea and Japan.

“You couldn’t ask for a better start from someone who has his first match for Australia,” Lang said.

“Also Hemming Hu, I saw plenty of good parts in his game, so yeah, there’s plenty to look forward to.”

On the flip side though was the weekend form of Australia’s most successful table tennis player, Miao Miao, who was soundly beaten in two singles matches.

“I’m not satisfied with my performance,” the Commonwealth Games medalist said afterwards.

“I don’t think I had enough time to prepare and this is a really tough tournament. We need more competitive training if we’re going to compete with this level of International players.

“I felt really slow. People say I’m the fastest player in Australia, but in this event I felt very, very slow, especially against these younger players. More competitive training will help me move faster, reading the ball better, and being more aggressive.”

Miao Miao is not panicking though. She’s had a busy year, taking on a greater coaching role and also returning to University studies.

“Before the Commonwealth Games I’ll be doing more training,” she promised.

Ross Solly

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