Australia’s Kane Townsend has headed to Suva to be a sparring partner for Team Oceania’s preparation training camp for the 2017 World Cadet Challenge (WCC).
One of the region’s top senior athletes, Kane himself was a member of Team Oceania when he competed in the 2008 World Cadet Challenge in Sweden.
The WCC is a unique event on the ITTF calendar. It mixes table tennis education and competition with unique cultural experiences.
It’s almost a decade ago for Kane but the experience isn’t one to be forgotten.
“It was fun having the opportunity to train with players from all over the world and listening to new ideas from the coaches,” says Kane. “Not only was the table tennis great, but also the chance to meet new people from different backgrounds and upbringings; you couldn’t be closed off and only interact with your own nation or team.”
When it came to the event it was Kane’s first real taste of competing in a major international event.
“It was a great but slightly daunting experience as the WCC was the biggest and highest level table tennis event I had participated in. In some games I played the best I had ever played, while in others not so great.”
A highlight for Kane had to be his win in the singles over France’s Simon Gauzy, who went on to the final to claim the silver medal in the event.
“The ups and downs was probably due to inexperience as it was the first time I had to adjust to such different styles of play. This really showed me what it was going to be like if I was to keep playing in world events.”
Being matched against his global peers, it was a springboard in to junior and even senior events.
Kane went on to compete at two World Junior Championships, and now is a member of the Australian senior team, having played at the Commonwealth Games and multiple World Championships.
“By helping Team Oceania prepare hopefully I can pass on some of this experience and make sure they are in their best form and are having fun heading in to the tournament.” – Kane Townsend