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Dederko dares to dream of a second Olympics

26 October 2015

TABLE TENNIS: Australian table tennis player Vivian Dederko admits she had plenty of doubts before this weekend about whether she could seriously still match it with the best.

The national top ten ranking competition at Tweed Heads was the first major competition for the London Olympian for 12 months, after taking time off to have a baby.

But by Sunday afternoon she’d put those doubts to rest, cruising through the challenging weekend undefeated.

The 38-year-old beat Beijing 2008 Olympian, Stephanie Sang, 3-0 in the final.

“I’ve only just come back from maternity leave, so these results are a bit of a surprise,” Dederko said.

“Before I came here I had no idea how I would go. I’ve been away from competition for more than a year.

“I know now I still can do it. It’s going to make me train even harder.”

Australia’s top-ranked female player, Jian Fang Lay, and fellow four-time Olympian Miao Miao, were both missing from the top ten tournament, so Dederko knows she will still have a fight on her hands.

And she also admits it is tougher now.

“I just feel really, really tired,” she said.

“On Friday night I was supposed to go to training, but my body just told me to rest. After training three or four times a week, plus working full time, plus being a mother – I just felt my body had no battery.

“The Olympics is the dream. Four days ago I thought it wasn’t going to be easy, but after today I think nothing is impossible.

In the men’s event, 26-year-old Chris Yan was triumphant after a weekend of major upsets.

Australia’s top rated players, William Henzell and David Powell, both rushed home from Europe to compete, but three-time Olympian Henzell could only manage third, while Powell had to settle for fifth.

Yan came from 2-0 down to beat local player Wade Townsend 4-2 in the final, and admitted after that he was a little surprised to win.

“The training environment in Sydney is not that good,” he said.

“I need to work and study, so I only get to train with a few kids on a Friday.

“I will go to China now for training for a couple of months. This result is really good for my confidence.

“For a player like me, if I was in China I wouldn’t have any chance of getting to an Olympics, but if I could get there to compete for Australia it would mean so much.”

Ross Solly
Table Tennis Australia

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