Mark Smythe Table Tennis

Australia's no. 1 coach

Heming article Oceania Olympic Trials

Heming has again written about his experiences from another important event. This time was from Oceania Championships that doubled as the lead up to Oceania Olympic Qualification Event. The top 5 players from Aust. Olympic Qualifying Event were the only Aust. player permitted to play the Oceania Singles Event that would eventually see which 2 players would progress onto the Oceania Qualifying Event.


Below is Heming's article.

Following on from the World Championships, my World Ranking jumped from 434 to 388 which was a step in the right direction. One of my goals for 2016 includes jumping into the top300 in the World by the end of the year and this was a small step towards it.

One week after World Championships and one week before Oceania Qualification we played the Croydon Open. This was good match practice but David Powell got his revenge on me from Aust. Olympic Trials and beat me 4-1 in the Semi Final. He played fantastically. 

The trials (Oceania C'ships Singles Event) then started with the group stage happening first followed by knockout stage. Each country was to take their highest 2 finishing players who would then participate in the official Oceania Olympic Qualifying. So for us Australians, we needed to be the two highest finishing Australians to be safe. This was a fair system but I and many others didn't agree with the system.  I was seeded at no. 4 and had no5 seed Kane Townsend in my group. I started strongly and was playing well and won my group beating Kane 4-0 and everyone else 4-0. I saw it as important to finish first in my group because then I would play someone a group second finisher in the Quarter Final rather than a group winner. All the other top 4 seeds finished first in their group and the main draw was done. David was seeded at 1 with Teng Teng Liu(New Zealand) at 2 and Chris Yan at 3. I drew Wade Townsend in my quarter final was able to win 4-0 and was to play David Powell the next day in the Semi. I knew the winner of our match would play singles at the Olympics and eventually lost in a close 4-3 match after being up 3-2. I had set my sights on playing the singles for a very long time as I knew after the Australian Trials that I was pretty much already going to the Olympics and wanting a singles spot very badly. I think I wanted this too much whereas David handled the nerves well and played better at the close moments and deservedly took the win and the singles spot. This was a very painful loss and took me a couple of weeks to recover from. Playing both singles and teams at the Olympics is a fantastic honour but I am still selected as the third player for the Men's Team Event and looking back a year ago, it was my ultimate goal to make the Olympics and I've still done that so overall, I am very satisfied. Thinking back a year ago (before William Henzell had announced his retirement), if someone told me that a year later, I was going to make the Olympics but only play in the Team Event and not the singles, I would take that deal without hesitation. It is all a good learning experience for me losing and winning matches in these high pressure tournaments and all good to take in and help me for the next Commonwealth Games and Olympic trials next time. 

Following this event, there is a lot to look forward to over next 12 months. I have plans to play in Europe again after the Olympics and many pro tour events throughout Europe during the next season. Additionally, the Australia Open is also in July and these are all good chances for me to improve my standard and hopefully world ranking. If I can jump into the top 300 earlier than I anticipated, this will help me move onto my next target of being top 250 quicker than anticipated.  However, I must take things one step at a time, work hard and just play the best I can and do everything in my power to improve and I believe the best will come. 

Now, I am on a good break from Table Tennis and from competition (have been playing league matches and competitions non stop since last September until the end of the Olympic trials at end of March so am exhausted both mentally and physically). After this, it all starts again and there is a lot of good events/things to look forward to and train for.