Athens Olympics table tennis coach Alois Rosario holds South West Sports Academy students spellbound at yesterday’s coaching clinic. 090113GW02 Picture: GLEN WATSONATHENS Olympic table tennis team coach Alois Rosario is helping talented young Warrnambool and Hamilton players take their skills to competitions in Melbourne.Rosario has been working with nine students from the South West Sports Academy since July last year.The students will compete in five tournaments in Melbourne over the next 12 months and Rosario hopes some will be in the running for state selection.”I’ve seen huge improvements in the kids since July,” Rosario said.”To be able to source players from regional areas is really important. Until now table tennis had been missing out on the talent in regional areas of Victoria”Warrnambool Table Tennis Club president Mark Taylor said an academy-run coaching program for adults was crucial to sustaining table tennis in the region.”Currently there are only three coaches in the region,” Taylor said. “We hope this program will lift that number to 13.”For Warrnambool player Emma Manderson, Rosario’s visit meant the chance to do a lot of hard training and fix technical problems in her serving and hitting.Emma, who has been playing table tennis for two years, said the program would give her the opportunity to advance to higher levels of competition.”I’d like to try for the state junior team in the next few years,” the 14-year-old said. Taylor said the program provided regional players like Emma with a pathway to competing in the city. “Table tennis is often viewed as a hobby, rather than a sport. We want to show regional kids it is possible to reach the highest level possible in the sport.”
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.