The table tennis team posing for a
photo prior to their departure for
the 19th Southeast Asian Junior
Table Tennis Championships in
Manila. Picture: Courtesy of BATTA
The Brunei Amateur Table Tennis Association (BATTA) will be sending four paddlers to compete at the 19th Southeast Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in Manila.
Brunei will be represented by Fiona Hii, Hong Rou Qin and brothers Jason and Leonardo Koh at the July 12-16 competition.
They will be contesting in the singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team events.
The junior paddlers recently saw action at the 5th ASEAN School Games in Hanoi June 22-30.
They have been undergoing continuous training and team manager Koh Chun Siong believes that they will be able to put up a good fight. "The players have undergone centralised training over the past three months through the Co-Curriculum Department of the Ministry of Education in preparations for the 5th ASEAN School Games," Chun Siong told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"They managed to play close games in Vietnam and Jason even managed to win one. With the experience and exposure that they have we want to make sure that we can keep the games close or even win them now. That is our aim here in the Philippines," he added.
Brunei made a breakthrough by no longer being pushovers in the 18th edition last year in Indonesia. Abdul Wafi Suhardi, Mohd Arib Zalidi Abdul Latip, Leonardo and Jason flew the flag for the country and instead of losing everything in straight sets managed to win some.
"The standard of the sport has been improving with time and I believe that they can do well. But what we lack now is a highly qualified coach to guide them. I do hope we can get one soon," said Chun Siong.
"So for now the only challenge we have for them in training is to play against the senior players. We are also grateful to them for giving their time to the junior paddlers to improve," he added.
The team is headed by Johnny Chong, the vice-president of BATTA and Ung Mee Kee is the chaperon.
Present to bid farewell to the team at the Brunei International Airport was BATTA President Hj Md Daud Hj Hitam.
As reported by Manila Standard Today, more than 150 young athletes from nine countries will be taking part in the tournament.
Besides Brunei and hosts the Philippines, the others from the region taking part in the competition are Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Indonesia and Myanmar skipped the competition this year due to conflict of schedules.