Brothers Leonardo and Jason
Koh (yellow) posing for a
photo during the 19th
Southeast Asian Junior
Table Tennis Championships
in Manila. Picture:
Courtesy of Koh Chun Siong
If there is one thing that the junior Bruneian paddlers need, it is a high-level table tennis coach.
They returned home late Tuesday from the 19th Southeast Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in Manila, where the team of Hong Rou Qin, Fiona Hii and brothers Leonardo and Jason Koh failed to notch a win or even a set in the Under-15 singles and doubles events at the Harrison Plaza Mall.
Leonardo fell to a 3-0 (11-6, 12-10, 11-5) defeat to Puangthip Sirawat of Thailand and a 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-7) loss to John Michael Castro of the Philippines.
Younger brother, Jason, lost 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-3) to Nguyen Trung Kien of Vietnam and also 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-6) to Francis Garganian of the Philippines.
They teamed up but were downed 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-6) against Michael Castro and Francis Garganian of the Philippines in the doubles event.
Over in the girls category, Hong lost 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-6) to Emy Rose Dael of the Philippines and also 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-2) against Vietnam's Vu Thi Thu Ha.
Hii was defeated 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-3) by Angelica Sanchez of the Philippines, 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-5) by Ang Wan Qi of Singapore and 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-4) against Thipphalak Sannivad of Laos.
In the doubles event, they lost 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-8) against Angeline Tang An Qi and Amanda Wong Ee Ling of Malaysia.
The only breakthrough the Sultanate managed was when Jason won 3-0 (11-9, 17-15, 11-5) against Thaing Kheang of Cambodia in their singles matchup of the team event.
Team manager, Koh Chun Siong, felt that they are in dire need of a high level coach to guide the players.
"A high caliber coach is urgently needed to guide and train our younger players. It is a must or it (training) will be very difficult," said Chun Siong in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"A proper coach will make a lot of difference as our players have all the basic skills already and only need further polishing to upgrade their game.
"I'm happy with some of the results and am glad to see our girls perform to my expectations.
"Next year I hope our national team will be able to beat other countries and achieve better results in the next edition which we are assigned to host.
"In 70 per cent of our games, we put up a good fight against the well prepared and guided players.
"Some games we lost quite badly due to our limited skills in receiving their service and power in their shots.
"Next year I am sure we will see great improvement provided the coach we are after is here," continued the team manager.
Chun Siong also elaborated on the difference between other countries in the region compared to the Sultanate.
"Some of the players from various countries in this competition were sent to China for further training on their skills and play," said Chun Siong.
"This shows how seriously they are taking the sport... Thailand and Singapore, the top-two ASEAN countries in table tennis have at least three top coaches from China.
"Their results were seen after they won most of the available categories in the tournament," he said.
Meanwhile, the BATTA president is Hj Damit Hj Abdul Rahman and not as previously reported.