(by Steve Hopkins)
The PongNow interview series discusses table tennis with some of the best players and personalities in the sport.
In this edition we have, TeamUSA Paralympian, Jenson Van Emburgh.
Jenson was named to represent the USA at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. The Games have been pushed back to 2021, so now Jenson is working hard to maintain his level and to stay focused on the best performance possible.
Jenson has a spinal chord injury from his armpits down. He plays in wheelchair Class 3. There is a big disability range in Class 3, and that provides a great deal of diversity in style and skill-set. As Jenson describes, “For wheelchair its more tactical. You want to exploit your opponent’s disability and try to find that ball you that can knock off the side or get your opponent out of position or place the ball perfectly.”
Jenson made the jump to an elite player about 18 months ago. And in October of last year in China, he performed so well that he was qualified for the Paralympics. Jenson expects to be in the upper 2000s for Tokyo. His world ranking is currently No. 11 and he is the top ranked junior across all wheelchair players in the World. His goal is to make it to the top 8 by this time next year.
“For me I’m not even worried about that, its my first Paralympics. I’m going to go in there and give it my all – I’ve got no pressure. All of those guys that played it so many times have all of the pressure that they are expected to do well and to win. They’ve never seen me compete at a tournament like that so I know that if I use my game and I am healthy and I am ready on that day that I can do well.”
Jenson has a GOFUNDME fundraising page designed to help raise money for his training and travel next year as he prepares to represent the United States at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. You can read more of his story on his GOFUNDME DONATION PAGE.
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