Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese national junior table tennis team has been trained professionally to benefit in the near future.
They are sent to train abroad annually and equipped with clothes and professional training appliances. They have even had chances to enjoy meals at restaurants or go for a monthly picnic. Many athletes say that no team is as happy as the Vietnamese junior table tennis team.
Changing 10 clothes per day
The specific characteristic of table tennis requires athletes to play at a high speed in a short time because of which they sweat a lot and have to change their suits multiple times for comfortable training and competing.
According to the regulation of the National Sports Administration, each junior table tennis player is only provided three or four suits per year. In fact, it doesn’t meet the demand of professional sports activities.
However, the team’s training board contacted sponsors and now every player has 70 pairs of clothes, which are divided into seven days. That means each player will have 10 suits to change everyday.
“In addition to sports gear, athletes are given uniforms when they go for a picnic and compete in international tournaments. These things come from non-State funds,” said Bùi Xuân Hà, head coach of Việt Nam National Junior Table Tennis squad.
According to Hà, thanks to a stable sponsorship, young ping pong players have trained in Shanghai, China and honed their skills at many international events for three years. This is considered a luxury for many other young teams, even for some national senior teams due to insufficient funds.
Besides being equipped with sports gear, athletes are taught to behave well in normal life and in public places.
Hà said as the athletes are very young, coaches have the responsibility to help their students improve their personality from speech to movement, besides providing technical knowledge.
Hà also said that elite athletes have to train very intensively. They feel tired and need to relax and get entertained. Hence, the training board takes them to cinemas, museums or for picnics once a month to balance their life.
“Sometimes, we take them to restaurants. This will help them learn more about food and culture. They won’t feel like fish out of water when they have international exchanges. This is not an eating and drinking story, it shows the level and culture of Vietnamese athletes when they are representatives of Việt Nam at the international level,” said Hà.
There is one more thing which helps Vietnamese young table tennis aces compete and exchange abroad more confidently — each player has several legerdemains that he or she has learnt from a leading prestidigitator of Việt Nam who loves table tennis very much.
“At international events, besides competing, teams will interact with each other. They sing and dance. Việt Nam, alone, performs prestidigitations, which provides a surprise element and is interesting for their friends. Thanks to this exchange, Vietnamese athletes are more confident in playing and communicating,” said assistant coach Trần Minh.
Currently, there are 12 athletes between the ages of 13 and18 in the national junior table tennis team. They began their career at the age of 5-6. They beat thousands of young talents across the country to enter the team.
This year, they will compete in three big events namely the National Junior Table Tennis Championship in May, the Southeast Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship in June in the Philippines and the ASEAN School Games in Malaysia in July.
Việt Nam pocketed a silver medal at the 23rd Southeast Asia Junior & Cadet Table Tennis Championships in Singapore last year. They brought home four silvers and three bronze medals at the regional championship in 2016. — VNS