Xavier Dixon and Finn Luu headline the team with top honours in their respected age groups, with Chermaine Quah second in the u/15 girls, Yi-Jen Hsu also second in the u/11s whilst Daniel Noura #3 also in the u/11s. Ananya Nandakuma (6), Michael Athanasiadis (21) and Genie Poplawski (13) have earned their first national rankings, whilst Melissa Tapper (6), Hannah Green (7), Olivia Green (8), Aneruddh Nandakumar (12), Daniel Kocjancic (17) and Skyy Luu (25) also featured.
All in all, as a team we hold sixteen top 10 places in the country across the age groups, two #1’s and seven top 5 places which is pleasing for team coach Ashley Robinson. “We started a six-week training camp for the team this week in the lead up to the major events and I’m confident we can play above ourselves as individuals.”
NATIONAL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
“Well Finn Luu is an obvious choice and has had a great lead up to the event with international events and training, Chermaine Quah is only getting better and like Finn Luu has benefited from the new National training centre sessions put in place by Table Tennis Australia. Hannah and Olivia Green has medal potentials, Daniel Noura and Yi-Jen Hsu in the u/11s will be interesting and keeping them free to play their games will be the biggest challenge whilst I am also looking to the doubles events for medals and will prepare the team accordingly.” Robinson commented when asked where the medals would come from.
“Our team is young, Finn and Chermaine are challenges for the u/18 titles and are still u/15. Noura, Ananya and Yi-Jen are all u/11 and our “LITTLE CHAMPS” program will deliver future success too. Whilst these kids are not at the National Championships we can see that the LOOPS facility powered by HWATT since 2009 is now in a position to produce more. More Finn Luu’s or Chermaine Quah’s for example. Whilst the likes of Noura and Nandakumar will have so many 8,9 and 10 year olds pushing them for a place in the SGTTA team at LOOPS.” Robinson continued when asked about the future.
“Xavier Dixon is now ranked 7th in the seniors and is the u/21 Aussie Champion with so much upside. We had a quick look at his experience lately and noticed that he is pretty special having never played a World Juniors, Cadets or Hopes meaning no international junior experience and has not competed outside Oceania for Australia. His time will come and I can only see improvement. Whilst Melissa Tapper had an amazing 2018, World Champs Bronze, Comm Games Gold and is now in preparation for the 2020 season which will include the Paralympics in Tokyo, and the Aussie Team qualification for the Olympics. Tapper is a professional, she’s qualified and has performed since 2014 where she qualified 3rd for Australian at the Commonwealth Games, 2nd in the 2016 Olympics and 2nd in 2018 for the Comm Games.” Robinson answered when asked about Tapper’s slide down the rankings to 6th and Dixon’s rise.