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Resilient table tennis team aiming high

25 July 2012

TABLE TENNIS: William Henzell, the most experienced member of our men’s singles lineup in London, is aiming to make the last eight of the competition – and he believes that if he can get that far then anything is possible.

“My goal from the start has been to make the quarter-finals and see what happens from there,” 30-year-old Henzell said on Wednesday.

“Australians have made the quarter-finals of the Olympics before. We have beaten some of the top players in the world, so it’s just a matter of us getting everything right on the day. And we believe we can do that.”

Justin Han, 20, is our other men’s singles player. He finished second in this year’s Oceania Qualification Tournament behind Henzell. Han is competing at his first Olympics, while for Henzell London will be his third. Henzell placed 33rd in the singles at both Beijing in 2008 and Athens in 2004.

Henzell showed tremendous promise at a high level as a teenager, and won his first Australian Men’s Open singles title at 19. He has gone right on with the job, becoming the first Australian to win matches in both the singles and doubles at Athens and beating former European champion Jens Lundqvist  in the early rounds at Beijing.

Veterans Jian Fang Lay, 39, and Miao Miao, 31, will play women’s singles and the team event at their fourth Olympics. A lot of resilience is needed to be world class for so long. A good example of this from Fang Lay was winning silver and bronze medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games only six months after her second child was born.

Fang Lay said she was just focusing on doing her best at the London Games, adding: “I’m training very hard and we had a very good competition for the Games. We will do what we can.”

Australia will be represented by six table tennis players with Vivian Tan and Robert Frank joining Henzell, Fang Lay Miao and Han.

Greg Prichard

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