Heming Hu has provided another article that combines his experiences, thoughts & feelings from last month of his 6 month stint in Sweden plus Australian Olympic Trials.
It has been a while since my last update as I have been extremely busy and was going through an extremely stressful time with a lot going on and the Australian Olympic Qualification Tournament coming up on February 19-22.
Right after the fantastic performance I last had at the Swedish Open, I completely nosedived and hit another rock bottom in my form. I lost all my league matches in the Danish league on the weekend of November 28/29 and was playing terribly. My horrendous form and negativity continued into the Finland open. However, I hadn't realized how bad my form could be until the end of the Finnish open, finishing 113th in the singles. I thought to myself, "it's ok we all have real ups and downs and especially playing so many matches at that time and also having a very big ego at the time after my fantastic Swedish Open , it's completely normal". I tried to learn from my mistakes and learn from the matches of the past two weeks and forget the negativity and depression I currently had at the time. I had a couple of days off and then Christmas which I planned to take 5 days off to completely clear my mind mentally. However, this didn't happen as I was stuck in Eslov for christmas and so was top chinese player Wu jiaji and I was lucky enough to train with just him, twice each day for two weeks almost everyday and so I didn't want to take any breaks as it was fantastic training. I had been training hard my whole time in Sweden and almost always training well too. However, in the down times I was oftenly training well but performing bad on match days. This worried me at first but then it didn't because it was my job to learn and deal with the difficulties I face in matches in future.
My form kept staying low in matches and I kept playing horrible. I had two more Swedish(second highest) league matches on January 16th/17th and had a flight back home to Melbourne on the 19th. I was also thinking alot about home and jumped into these league matches wanting to finish off on a good note but at the same time I was feeling very negative in my matchplay. I was on a good record in the Swedish league with 7-1 but after that weekend the only thing I came out with was a 7-5 record(losing 4/4 matches that weekend), a broken ego and a terrible feeling about myself. I did learn the most from that weekend more than anything else though. I was telling myself that its was ok. I tried to stay positive as I could, I had alot of friends in eslov who helped me battle through the tough times and realised that I had the most important event for myself still yet to come. I also told myself that it would be much worse had I of played fantastically that weekend and won all my matches but not have the Australian Olympic qualifying event go my way. Therefore, I took a couple of days off to refresh myself and feel good at home again after 6 months away and this helped me get back into the hall feeling happier and pumped. I continued to work hard everyday and got many training sessions in for the Australian Olympic Qualifying Tournament. I tried to remember everything I learned in my time in Eslov, from all my good and bad performances, etc and take this into the qualifying tournament.
So I started the Australian Olympic Qualifying fantastically. The event consisted of 8 players playing a round robin against each other. After 2 days of play and when everyone has played each other once, the top2 stop playing and their positions are set. The no 8 player is eliminated and the no's 3-7 all play each other again with their previous results against each other carrying over into the next(second and last) round robin.
I won my first match against Chris Yan 4-0 and this was an excellent performance from my side. I was on a mental high and tried to clear my head of it but couldn't quite get around to it, losing to Ivan Sulfaro 4-2. I hadn't played that well from my side and lead 2-1 9-6 but all credit goes to him for playing extremely well and deservedly taking the win. I stayed positive after this match and forced myself to stay happy and not be upset over 1 loss as there was still a long way to go in the tournament and it was completely normal to lose matches as it was quite an even playing field with top Aussie player William Henzell retiring right before this event. I kept playing well and beat David in a close 4-1 match and Kane 4-2 to conclude the first day of play. After the first day of play, myself, Chris, David and Kane were all on 1 loss but these 3 had all lost to me giving me countback advantage and none of them had yet played each other and were to do so the next day so I was feeling very positive about myself as I was technically in an advantage over them and leading the race in my mind. I was positive and happy but still just as nervous, if not more for the next day.
I jumped into day 2 trying to just play my best and not think about the result as much as I could. I started the second of play well beating Wade Townsend 4-0. However, I then had a tough match with Dominic Huang winning 4-3. It was a good match from both of us and we train together regularly so he knows my game very well and in these situations, its much more likely that the matches the two have together, will be close(r). I was nervous and obviously knew what was at stake for myself and was a close match the whole but led 3-2 10-8 and wasn't able to take those two match points, losing that game. In the 7th game it was close from start to finish, I ended up winning 13-11 and playing 3 fantastic balls from 10-10 onward which I was thrilled at. On the other side of the results, Chris had won all his matches and remained at only 1 loss to me, he had beaten David Powell and Kane Townsend and these two both ended up losing 3 matches in the first round robin. Before jumping into my last match, I knew that Chris had only one loss and one more match, David had 3 losses and Kane had 2(lost the last match to David putting him at 3 losses at the conclusion of the first round robin). Therefore, Chris was my only concern at the time and I knew that I had to win my last match to finish ahead of him despite having an advantage over him in count back as I beat him. I knew that for the best to happen, I just had to focus purely on myself and win all my own matches. I won a tough 4-0 against Erny Tsao and was unbelievably delighted to win this mentally tough match putting me at 1st position and guaranteeing my place to the Rio Olympic Games providing Australia Qualifies a team at the Oceania Olympic Qualifying which is on March 22-25. The final placings had Chris Yan ad no2, David Powell at no3, Kane and Wade Townsend at no's4/5 respectively. These are the 5 including myself who will play off for the Olympic Singles Spots at the which is the Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament. After the down times I was going through in Europe, I was really mentally tested and thinking how bad things were. Going from those times to finishing 1st place at this event, I could not be any happier. However, it sank in quickly and automatically I was pumped to do well at the World Team Championships in Malaysia and to get myself into a singles position for the Olympic Games. I left for Malaysia 4 days after the event from the 26th of February until the 6th of March.
Will provide details of World Team Championships and Oceania Olympic Qualifying in the next update.