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Tokyo training has Townsend tuned up for World Champs

29 May 2017

TABLE TENNIS: A four month training stint at the home of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has Kane Townsend ready for action as the World Championships get underway today.

Having gone close to qualifying for Rio 2016 while balancing a full-time mathematics degree, Townsend has turned his full focus to table tennis this year and will be one of five Aussies lining up at the event in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“My preparation for this World Championships has been very good,” the 24-year-old said.  

“The national top 10 tournament was on a few weeks before this event, which was also a good way to get some match practice leading in

“I am hoping to play with good confidence and aggression. If I play my best table tennis with this mentality I should be able to achieve some good results. My first goal is to win my qualification group.

“I know if I bring my best game to the table there are not many opponents I see as too difficult for me to defeat.”

Townsend will line up alongside Rio 2016 Olympians Heming Hu, David Powell and Jian Fang Lay, as well as Sarah Tan, at the event.

“We are a pretty relaxed and supportive team.

“I think the general feeling is pretty positive and we feel we are capable of putting in very strong performances.”

Townsend followed his parents into the sport at the age of five when he began playing at a small table tennis club they had opened up.

With their help he rose to prominence on the national scene and wore the green and gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He just missed qualifying for the Rio 2016 Games after going down to the New Zealand number one at the Oceania qualification tournament.

Yet despite that disappointment, he knows with his full attention he has what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sport he loves.

“The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the major goals I look forward to in the coming years.

“My hope is to win a medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in front of my home crowd as I am from the Gold Coast.

“Interestingly I feel like Tokyo is a home event for me as well, since I have been training there often since I was just 12 years old.”

Townsend’s first task is getting out of his qualification group and into the main draw in Dusseldorf.

He will face Quang Linh Dinh (Vietnam), Chi Cheng Cheong (Macau) and Prince Kai-Tongi (Sierra Leone) in a round robin competition with the top athlete progressing. The draw and results can be found here>>>

Powell will also have to face three opponents in the qualification phase while Hu will line up against two others.

Tan finds herself in a group of three while five time Olympian Lay begins her campaign in the main draw.

The latter stages of the tournament will be broadcast on Fox Sports beginning Sunday June 4.

Matt Bartolo

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Kane Townsend