(By Natalie Chan)
Weeks of practicing hours each day and it finally paid off! Spartans Table Tennis Club had its first tournament ever in June of this year and I was very excited to be able to participate in it. My goal was to make it to the semi-finals of the U19 event. I knew it would be difficult though because I was the eighth seed. I would need to beat the top seed in my group and not lose to the person seeded below me.
In the group stage, I won the group by beating the top seed 3-1. My serves won a lot of points in this match and I was practicing my serves a lot before this tournament, so I was happy to see that my work paid off. I was also able to have good control which ultimately, helped me win. I won the other match 3-0, so I advanced out of the group!
I got drawn into single elimination as the fourth seed, so I got a bye in the quarterfinals. In the semis, I played the second seed of the event. I started the match off by winning the first two games 11-5 and 11-3. I was able to place the balls wide for every ball in the rallies, which gave me a huge edge. However, I started to lose my focus and lost the next game 5-11. In the game after that, I lost a close 10-12. After losing the previous two games, I grew more nervous. My hands were trembling and I was unable to play the quality I had played before. I was down 8-10, and I was calmer, focusing only on each point. After that, I won 4 points in a row to win the match 3-2.
The finals were late at night and I was set to play another girl who I had lost to multiple times before. I knew what I was up against and before I started, I thought about strategies, weaknesses, and strengths. I was upset when I lost the first game 5-11. However, I pushed through and won the next game 11-5, tying up the match. Winning that game gave me a boost, and I started mixing up my serves and placements. I finished the match by winning the next two games 11- 7 and 11-9. I was delighted to win the U19 event, not only because it was my first time, but also because I was able to perform well.
Finally, it wouldn’t be possible for me to continue to improve without all the support from my parents, coaches, and sponsor. Special thanks to my coaches at Spartans Table Tennis Center for the great training, encouragement, and coaching. I also want to thank Bowmar Sports for sponsoring me and providing me with the best equipment.
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