Grant to give sport a head start

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Matt Cheng is the new Busselton Table Tennis Club Juniors head coach and WA country champion after finishing 32nd out of 168 competitors at the national championships.
Camera IconMatt Cheng is the new Busselton Table Tennis Club Juniors head coach and WA country champion after finishing 32nd out of 168 competitors at the national championships. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Smash Hit Junior Table Tennis club has received a $3000 Community Bids grant from the City of Busselton and is looking to compete with kids in the State league, thanks to the coaching of the best country player in WA, Matt Cheng.

The Busselton club begins training on Wednesday, January 9, at the High St Hall between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, with the open age group playing afterwards from 7pm to 10pm.

In future, the club hopes to hold the Geographe Bay Table Tennis Tournament in June with the help of former State coach and Kingsway tournament organiser David Brown.

Table tennis works on a ranking system accumulating points with every tournament win.

The grant allows the club to replace two tables for a total of eight and provide 30 bats for junior players.

Head coach Matt Cheng said table tennis was a mental discipline and not just a physical sport. “I personally think it’s about training your mental strength,” he said.

“No matter how good you are, if you can’t overcome the fear of losing, then you cannot win. It’s really important for a teenager to know how to control their anger and emotions.”

Junior players can play and train on Wednesday nights for $6 a session, with a 10-week program starting after the school holidays.

South West Junior Champion Obi Herring said he wanted to learn more and compete against local kids.

“Matt taught me how to use top spin. Usually back spin is used to defend and top spin to attack,” he said.

“I’m going to train really hard with Matt, about 15 hours a week, so that I can make the State team and go to Sydney.”

At the national championships in Bendigo last year Cheng finished 32nd out of 168 competitors and lost to the eventual champion in a tight match where he took the first of three games.

“It was really close and intense for both of us.

“Most of the competitors from New South Wales and Queensland were really strong, they had a good foundation when they were young, and now the level they play is really high.”

Cheng said the future junior Busselton team would be very strong.

“I think that we can achieve that too,” he said.

“We have great facilities and some dedicated players,” he said.

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