Dunedin place to be for table tennis fans

Ben Duffy
Ben Duffy
Dunedin will be a hot spot for table tennis over the next three days.

A higher level training camp begins at the Edgar Centre today, which will be followed by the Otago Open beginning tomorrow night and finishing on Saturday.

The camp will host 72 of the South Island's top players aged between 12 and 18.

That leads in to the Otago Open, in which 130 players will contest the annual event.

Competitors will come from around the South Island, alongside several top players from the North Island.

Dean Shu and Kim Wang, of Wellington and Auckland respectively, return to defend the singles titles they won last year.

Shu enters as the top seed in the men's division and will be face a tough challenge from Victor Ma.

Wang is the women's top seed and will face stiff competition in Xhying Cheng.

In the under-15 grade, several Otago players will stake claims for titles.

Isaac Hobbs is a strong chance in the boys grade, while Molly Newell and Ruby Anderson will both contend well in the girls competition.

All three have recently returned from representing New Zealand in Australia.

The open begins tomorrow evening with the senior doubles. It continues at 8.30am on Saturday, but the main action begins around 6pm and is likely to conclude before 10pm.

Before the Open, 72 youth players will be led by 12 coaches from around the country over a four-session camp.

It will include technical training and tactical awareness and

look at skills such as table position, recovery and anticipation.

A yoga session focusing on mental well-being will conclude the camp.

Table Tennis Otago vice-president Ben Duffy said it was ''quite exciting''.

''It's a really good opportunity.

''The kids are male and female aged between 12 and 18.

''They've had to go through a qualification process to be selected, so it is the higher level of kids across the South Island.''

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