KUCHING: State junior paddlers Derrick Tsai and Andrea Tan will represent Malaysia in the Asean Primary School Sports Olympiad (APSSO) in Indonesia this November.
The duo were selected on their excellent showings in the Malaysia Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Table Tennis Championship in Politeknik Shah Alam, Selangor from March 15 to 19.
They also helped Sarawak to the overall championship title for the first time since the introduction of the points system, winning four gold, four silver and seven bronze medals for a total of 153 points to finish ahead of Selangor and Johor.
Tsai, from SJK Chung Hua No. 3 and Andrea from SJK Chung Hua No. 2, are products of Kuching Division Table Tennis Association’s junior development programme.
“I’m very happy to play for Malaysia and wish to thank coach Chua Khiaw Lian, Helena Wee, parents and teachers for their guidance,” the 11-year-old said.
Tsai trains from 2.30pm to 6pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 9am to 11.30am every Sunday at the state Elite Centre at the Tai-chi Centre along Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho.
He took up the sport under the encouragement of his cousin, Clement Sim, when he was about eight years old.
His younger sister, Elicia Tsai, is also a trainee at the Kuching Division Table Tennis Association (KDTTA).
Tsai won his first medal, a bronze, in the Boys’ U-10 team event while representing Sarawak in the 21st Malaysia-Milo Hopes Table Tennis Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 2008.
In the Sarawak Inter-Division Championship held at MBKS Indoor Stadium in Kuching the following year, he captured the Boys’ U-10 singles gold by beating Gabriel Ling 3-0 in the final.
This was followed by a Boys’ U-10 team gold and Boys U-10 singles bronze in the 22nd Malaysia Milo Hopes in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the same year.
Last year, Tsai was a silver medallist in the Boys U-10 singles in the Kuching Division Age Group.
He also bagged the silver in the Boys’ U-10 team event at the 23rd Malaysia-Milo Hopes in Labuan.
He followed up with two gold medals in the Boys’
U-12 singles and the Boys’ U-12 team in the MSSS Championship in Samarahan, and another gold in the Boys U-10 singles at the 50th Sarawak Inter-Division championship.
At the MSSM Championship in Selangor from March 15-19 this year, he won two gold medals in the Boys’ U-12 singles and the team event and one bronze medal in the Boys’ U-12 doubles, partnering Gabriel Ling.
Meanwhile, another Kuching player Wendy Lau Jun Zhen of SMK Green Road has also been selected to represent the country in the Asia Schools Sports Council Table Tennis Championship in Singapore from June 30 to July 8.