Tuesday 27 December 2011

Ukraine's Gem Eyes up Euro Gold

It was great to finally get back this interview from Margaryta, I've been giving her hell for a while and she finally gave in. Margaryta plays in the Russian League competition while living and studying in Ukraine, I get the occasional opportunity to have a chat with her while she's home in Ukraine which is always cool, she's a great invididual and a very talented table tennis player. Thanks Margaryta! :)

Full Name: Margaryta Pesotska
Age: 20
Date Of Birth: 9/8/91
Nation represented: Ukraine
Highest World Ranking: 45

Equipment Used?

Blade: Tibhar Balsa L-4
FH Rubber: Tibhar Sinus 2.0
BH Rubber: Tibhar Sinus 2.0

Your Career

How long have you been playing table tennis for, when and how did you start?
I have been playing already 15 years. I started to play tt in Poland when I was 5 years old. My mother worked as a coach and I always was near her playing with a bat and table tennis balls, she saw that I liked it and since then decided to teach me to play.

What has been the highlight of your table tennis career so far?

My best highlights in tt were: 9 European Champion Youth and Cadet titles (gold medals during my junior and cadet career)-team competition,double,single.;World Champion in cadet category in 2005 in Santo-Domingo, 3rd place in European Championship Women's Singles 2011.Qualified for Beijing Olympic Games at 16 years old.

What is your next big goal for table tennis?
For this moment my next big goal is to win gold medal in European Championship.I know it is very difficult, but I will try.And of course to be qualified for Olympic Games 2012 in London.

Who has been your biggest rival out on the table since you started playing?
Asian players are the biggest rival in my sport. Always difficult to play against them. But I work and I hope in the future results would be better.

Who is your favourite international player and why?
I don't have one favourite player, I just like to watch all the top players playing, every one of them has their own style of game and individual ability.

Are you a supporter of skirts and sports dresses for women or shorts?
I think it looks more attractive in womens tt playing in skirt and dresses, some fashion must be present. And for spectators it brings more pleasure watching top women playing in such attire. So now I also play more in skirts than in shorts.

What do you think of the state of women's table tennis around the world?
Table tennis in all countries is developing differently. In some countries tt is very popular, but in some others pay less attention to this kind of sport. But as we all know women's table tennis is strong in Asia. These are best players.

Off the Topic Questions

Who’s your favourite sportsperson of all time?
My favourite sportspersons are like Timo Boll, Vladimir Samsonov, players who fight for every ball, and behave worthly during the game.

Favourite food?
I like domestic food and Japanese

What do you do when you aren't playing table tennis?
Studying at university, spend time with friends and sometimes just like doing nothing ;)

Ideal holiday destination?
I would like to visit Venice and the Caribbean Islands

Margaryta plays Daniela Dodean at the 2011 Austrian Open

Your Team Mates

Who’s the funniest player in the training hall?
As I don't have a lot of players in my hall, difficult to name the funniest or who train the hardest, but in my national team I can say that all girls are good and I like to communicate with them, they are all very funny, especially Any Gaponova :)

And Lastly

Would you like to add one last tip, or an inspirational message for other table tennis players looking to succeed?
I would like to add that if you have a dream, believe in it and try to do best for your success and sooner or later your dream will come true.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Major Contenders Prepare for Oceania Olympic Qualification

After seeing the positive response to William Henzell's video journal of his training in the build up for London 2012, I was itching to blog about the Oceania Olympic Qualifiers and was given the idea to ask the main contenders how they are preparing for the event to have their best shot at qualifying. I got responses back from most of the players though I'm still harrassing a couple and will edit their responses in if or when I get them, I am hoping to hear back from top Australian players Miao Miao, Robert Frank and Simon Gerada. For now, the main contenders from Australia and New Zealand and how they are preparing for the Oceania Qualification tournament for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

William Henzell (AUS): Currently based in Austria
Event Favourite William Henzell
Image courtesy of Pingskills
"I've really put everything into this Olympic campaign. I quit my job and moved back to Europe to play full time table tennis in Austria at the Werner Schlager Academy. We practice between 3 to 5 hours per day, 5 or 6 days per week. Most weekends are taken up by league matches or international events like Pro Tours or the World Cup.

My form is headed in the right direction and I feel stronger and more consistent from the training and matches. The Olympic Qualification will be extremely tough with only 2 singles spots up for grabs for the players from Oceania. It will all come down to 1 or 2 matches in the end."

William's 9th installment of his training journal

John Cordue (NZL): Currently based in Germany
John Cordue
Image courtesy of John's Site
"My preparation for Olympic qualifiers consists of training 7 to 9 times a week with various training partners who play 3rd, 4th, and 5th division (I play 4th). I supplement the on the table training with running 2 to 3 times a week and circuit training 2 to 3 times a week. I get great match preparation from my league matches which I play every 1 to 2 weeks as well as some tournaments inside Germany which will be played around Christmas time.

As far as international tournaments go I have already played the Norway Cup and the Swedish Open with the next one being the Finland Open stating next week. This will most likely be the last International tournament I play before the Olympic Qualifiers as I have a full calendar of club matches before I return to New Zealand in the middle of February. The International tournaments are a vital part of my preparation as the playing environment will be similar at the Olympic Qualifying tournament.

I think the main difference between my preparation for this upcoming Ocenaia event and previous Oceania events is the amount of matches I am playing here in Europe as this has helped me make improvements in my mental game and made me a lot more tactically aware when playing matches."

David Powell (AUS): Currently based in Poland
David Powell
Image courtesy of Greg Letts' Blog
"I moved to Poland in late June 2011 to start playing professionally with a club in order to gain my best preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games Qualifying events. Since June, I’ve been training up to 25 hours per week and playing matches for my club in where I have finished 9-9 for the first half of the season. During this time I have played in as many International competitions as possible including the World University Games (china), World Team Cup (Germany) and early next year I will be playing the Hungarian Pro Tour. I’m currently training with top 10 players in Poland including Pawel Chimel, Piotr Chimel and Tomasz Lewandowski. It’s a bonus that I’m able to play with top 250 player’s day in day out, and I’m now starting to see some results.

My goal for the qualification events next year is to simply play quality table tennis and try to implement my previous 8 months training into those matches, and ultimately qualify for the Olympic Games."

Sarah Her-Lee (NZL): Currently based in Germany
Olympic hopeful Sarah Her-Lee
Image from Sarah's Blog
"Firstly I would need to be selected for the NZ team.. and I hope I can make the team because I have been training very hard full time since the beginning of this year. I am very lucky to be in Germany right now playing for a club and also playing ITTF sanctioned tournaments. I train 10-11 times a week, with my club and the club coach and some players who does not represent my club but trains here. I am also doing some physical training as well as tactical analysis from watching my matches. My goal is to finish top 3 at the qualification tournament."

Phillip Xiao (NZL): Currently training in China
Phillip Xiao
Image by Matt Hetherington

My preparation for the Olympic qualifiers involves 6 weeks training with a province team in China organised by my coach Jiang Weizhong and and then off to Korea for anther 3 weeks training organised by Mr Han. Training here has been good and it involves a lot of technical training

My goal for the Olympic qualifiers in march is make the top 3 and come top from New Zealand. Really looking forward to the challenge and testing my progress against the best from Oceania.

Trent Carter (AUS): Currently based in France
Trent Carter
Image courtesy of Greg Letts' Blog

"I am currently training in Montpellier, France, I have now been here one and a half months of a 3 month stint. I am playing league for the club, which is in the 3rd league in France and I have won 8 games and lost 2. Training is 10 sessions per week and 1 physical session a week. The players are a very similar level to mine plus a former Chinese super league player and Michel Martinez who I believe is around number 5 in France. I will arrive back in Sydney around 2 weeks before trials to make myself in the best possible shape. Compatriot Robert Frank has also been training here for the last month since the world teams cup, but he will be leaving on Tuesday.

It has been great sharing a room with him as it helps beat boredom and it is great to speak proper English to someone.

For me to be able to qualify for the Olympics it is crucial that I have fast footwork around the table, my forehand needs to be strong and a consistent backhand. This three months training will hopefully have all these aspects in working order."

Sunday 11 December 2011

Romstal Girls Kick 2012 Off Early

That's right the lovely Romstal Romania ladies are back with their annual calendar for 2012, last time the team were featured in some flash dresses and stunning makeup. This time it's back to their favourite sport table tennis!
So it's Calendar Romstal 2012. Check it out! You can visit the sponsor page here.

The star lineup of Elizabeta Samara, Bernadette Szocs, Daniela Dodean, Camelia Postoaca and Iulia Necula

With a great lineup of professional photos for the calendar these ladies are looking great! Joined by teammates Adrian Crisan and Andrei Filimon they complete the full calendar for 2012!

Congratulations ladies on creating an awesome Calendar and showing off your talent both on and off the table! Make sure you check out Romstal if you are interested, they are the sponsor for the Romanian National Team, so support the players and take a look! :)

"No Pain, No Gain" Keinath Lives up to His Favourite Line

Thomas is an energetic and successful table tennis player who has had a lot of success in Eastern Europe and the United States over the years, including having 2 victories at the US Table Tennis Open and frequently appearing in the Challenger Series where he has had great success. On his site he confesses to being one of the craziest players in the top 100 World Rankings, a real character and great to watch! Thank you Thomas for the interview.

Full Name: Thomas Keinath
Age: 34
Date of Birth: 31.08.1977
Nation Represented: Slovakia and Germany
Highest World Ranking: 53

Equipment Used: Joola
Blade: Sting FL
FH Rubber: Haifu
BH Rubber: Joola Explore Max

Your Career:

How long have you been playing table tennis, when and how did you start?
 I started when I was 8 years old

What is your biggest and proudest moment in table tennis to date? 
The Brazil Open. I was 3rd place. I beat 3 Top 20 WR Players. And the US Open. I won that two times.

What is your next big goal for table tennis?
I want to play the Olympics next year.

Why do you think the Chinese are so dominant in the sport? Who do you think will be the next country to rise and start beating them?
Nobody. Maybe Japan. Many young player come up.

What do you think the sport of table tennis is lacking around the world? What could be done to improve it from an international player’s perspective? 
Practice in China. 
Thomas works towards developing the sport already and has a table tennis school and a table tennis shop under his business Keinath Sport. He also has his own site at http://www.thomas-keinath.de/thomas-keinath/

Thomas also has a forum at www.tischtennis-community.de/forum

Who is you favourite international player?
Timo Boll and Wang Tao

What do you think is the hardest thing about playing table tennis internationally? 
Service and return and counter loop. You must pratice these 3 things very much.

What do you think is most important in creating a successful international player? 
Pratice very hard and train many balls and try to play many tournament

If you are winning 10-0 do you give a point or try and win 11-0? 
In very very important tournament I try to win 11-0. Everything is possible that you can lose.

Do you feel the Challenger Series is good for developing your game and do you enjoy the competition?
 Yes I enjoy this tournament and I can try more things that I learn in pratice.

Off Topic Questions

Favourite food: 
Chinese food and Slovakian food
Favourite Movie: 
All funny movies
Dream Car: 
If you were stuck on a desert island, which table tennis player would you have with you there?
My girlfriend. She playing also very good. And my best friend Torben Wosik and Zoltan Feyer-Konnerth
First thing you would do if you won $1 Million:
I will buy a new house.

Thomas' US Open 2010 Final against Sharath Kamal Achanta