Australia’s Nicholas Lum recently returned from the 2017 World Hopes Week & Challenge. Checkout his experience below in his own words about training under some of the best coaches in the world, winning bronze and gaining selection in the World Hopes team.
This is my first time playing an international tournament outside of Australia. It was also my first time flying 24 hours to Europe.
I have been training hard leading up to the World Hopes in Luxembourg. I was very excited to experience world class training by top Chinese coaches and ready to see the best U12 players around the world.
When the training began, I was soon amazed at all the different levels and styles the players had. At the beginning of each session they had a briefing sessions on different aspects on table tennis and exercise. Training in different time zones and different environment was hard to cope with, plus the hard drills and exercise given by the Chinese coaches. There were two on-table sessions, each two hours long, one physical after training and one physical in the morning. This kept going for six days.
I learned a lot of things from Zhang Yining. She was giving me feedback that no one ever picked up on. She was probably the best coach there.
After all the hard training, the World Hopes Challenge began. At the beginning of this year, my goal was to finish in the top eight. During the tournament, I managed to gain momentum after each match. I played really well without dropping a set until the semifinals.
In the semifinal, I played against Navid Shams, the defending champion from last years World Hopes from Iran. Playing Navid was very difficult because he had a very good serve and controlled the game and the tempo very well. Although I lost, I managed to bounce back up and regain my focus and in result, I played really well in the play-offs for positions 3-4, and claimed the bronze medal.
I’m really excited to playing the World Cadet Challenge in Fiji. With the experience I gained from the World Hopes, I am looking forward to playing older and stronger opponents. Also, I’m keen to reunite with my teammates and friends.