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."

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