Fund damper in table tennis development
Posted on June 10, 2012, Sunday
KUCHING: Sarawak junior paddlers have shown an improvement based on the results of the 32nd Malaysia-Milo Youth Table Tennis Championship at OCM Hall in Kuala Lumpur on May 27-31.
They brought home two gold and two bronze medals this year when compared to the three silvers and two bronzes they won last year.
Jason Siaw Ting Shen was the team’s best performer when he captured two gold medals from the Boys Under-15 singles and Boys Under-15 team.
The 15-year-old form three student from SMK Kuching High, who plays with a ‘cutter’ style, beat Jeven Chiong of Selangor 4-1 (7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9) in the Boys Under-15 singles final.
Other members of the Boys Under-15 team were Clement Sim, Brainard Kho, Calvin Chieng and Gabriel Ling.
The bronzes were won by Wendy Lau and Ting Ying Hii in the Girls Under-18 doubles and Girls Under-18 team event.
Apart from the above medals won, five Sarawak paddlers also finished in the top ten ranked players in the championship.
They were Tang Wen Jiun and Ting Ying Hii in the Girls Under-18, Jason Siaw and Clement Sim in the Boys Under-15, and Crystal Tiong in the Girls Under-15.
Looking at the results, team manager Helena Wee said although the team had done better than last year, the standard of the state players is yet to be desired.
“We have been dominating the championship in previous years and in the previous two or three years the results showed that we are not so dominant.
It does not mean that our standard has gone down. It is just that other states especially like Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Johor are very serious with their development programmes,” said Wee.
“In West Malaysia, former national players have also set up many private training centres to groom young players and the states’ associations have also gotten sparring partners from China and ex-nationals to help with the sparring of their junior players.”
Wee said with a bigger pool of players, selection is better to produce more junior paddlers of good calibre.
Jeven Chiong was one such fine example of an excellent development programme as the 11-year-old new star had beaten opponents older than him in the championship.
Wee said Sarawak players had lesser exposure than their peninsula counterparts who were involved all year round in commercial cups, junior circuits and invitational competitions.
“We do not have so many competitions organised here and we cannot send them to compete in West Malaysia due to lack of funds,” she said, adding that it was very expensive to send players to competitions outside the state.
Another problem that Sarawak faces is that parents of players are more academic orientated and send their children to a lot of tuition classes.
This has affected attendance in the training programme as the players are supposed to train six times a week.
“We appeal to the parents to give us the support and cooperation. Studies are important but with good time management, I can’t see why the students cannot excel both in academics and sports,” said Wee.
She cited two good examples of Lancelot Chua who scored 10 distinctions in UCA and Wendy Lau who scored 11 As in her SPM.
Wee said one pressing problem that Kuching faced for so many years was the lack of a good, spacious training centre.
She said the Kuching training centre at Tai-Chi Centre along Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho that housed nine tables had become very crowded with more than 60 players having to come to train at the centre at different stages.
“We have identified a piece of land for our proposed new training centre and submitted an application to the authorities concerned since last year,” said Wee. The land application is still pending approval.