'I understand that it’s a special achievement to be the only Australian to have competed at the Olympics and Paralympics. But, to me, it’s always been about just being the best I can be, whether that’s against para athletes or able-bods.
There are a couple of reasons I think that way. Most of my time competing in table tennis has been against players who don’t have a disability. All through my junior years, right up to Olympic and Comm Games qualification events, I was just a table tennis player, not a para athlete. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 19 that I was introduced to para sport.
The other main reason is because I’d never really thought of myself as having a disability. I’d grown up always being treated the same as everybody else. When I did finally discover I had an opportunity to play para table tennis, it took a while to get my head around it. I was apprehensive because I’d never looked at myself that way.
That might sound a bit weird, given my condition, which I’ve had since I was born. During natural childbirth I became stuck and was pulled out by the right arm. It completely tore the nerves between my neck and shoulder. When I was growing up I was told it was called brachial plexus, but since I’ve been playing para sport, I’ve heard the term Erbs palsy. Either or, I think!
For the first four months of my life I had no use of my right arm. Then I had nerves taken from the back of my calf muscles and joined to the broken nerves in my shoulder, which gave me back some movement. I have limited use of my shoulder nowadays, though my right arm hasn’t developed and has much less strength than my left arm. I have no use of my wrist.
The thing is, when you’re born with a disability, you tend to work around it. You innovate and compensate to make sure you can still get things done. I wear a custom-made brace, which gives me some wrist strength and helps me use my arm. I can do pretty much everything. And, if I can’t do something, even though it might take a bit longer or look a bit different, I’ll find a way to do it.'
Table Tennis NSW claimed two GOLD MEDALS and one SILVER MEDAL in Latrobe Churchill, Victoria, as the Teams Events wrapped up on Wed 10 Apr 2019.
NSW player, Alice Lee, also claimed a SILVER MEDAL as a member of the President’s Team in the Under 21 Women’s Team event.
Final results were:
Men's Teams: Gold - NSW (Kane Townsend, Chris Yan), Silver - Victoria (Dave Powell, Heming Hu, Xavier Dixon), Bronze - Victoria B (Dillon Chambers, Nicholas Lum, Ma Lin).
Women's Teams: Gold - Victoria (Jian Fang Lay, Lina Lei, Qian Yang), Silver - NSW (Michelle Bromley, Tracy Feng), Bronze - Queensland (Min Hyung Jee, Matilda Alexandersson).
Under 21 Men's Teams: Gold - NSW (James Kim, Hwan Bae), Silver - President's (Tim Huang, Leo Li), Bronze - Victoria (Matthew Avers, Richard Li).
Under 21 Women's Teams: Gold - Victoria (Parleen Kaur, Michelle Wu, Chermaine Quah), Silver - President's (Tahnee Green, Alice Lee), Bronze - President's B (Mia Psihogios, Connie Psihogios).
Congratulations to Kane, Chris, James, Hwan, Michelle, Tracy and Alice.
Full results can be viewed at: http://nationals.tabletennis.org.au/senior_yout…/results.htm
Vivian Table Tennis Academy is offering an intensive holiday training squad for juniors who are interested in playing at a competition level. This 4-day intensive program will target the key growth areas of Table Tennis and focus on technique, strategy and physical fitness.
About Vivian: Vivian Tan is a former Olympian and Commonwealth Games representative for Australia. She was a Commonwealth medallist in Glasgow and won 2016 ITTF- Oceania Cup. Vivian is passionate about coaching and ensuring there are pathways for juniors to develop into elite competitive athletes.
Venue: Willoughby Squash Club CNR Willoughby Road and Small Street Willoughby, NSW 2068
Date: 15th April to 18th April 2019 Time: 9am to 3pm
Cost: $100 per day, $400 four days
Numbers are strictly limited for this intensive program, to ensure we maintain the quality of the sessions.