Teens hoping for a ball of a time

  • Community Sports
  • Monday, 24 Jun 2019

Liew (right) with T2 Diamond Table Tennis League marketing executive Marah Ishraf (left) sharing a light moment with Samuel (second from right) and Yi Siew during the ball kids tryouts for the tournament in Johor Baru.

Johor BARU: Two teenagers are hoping to qualify as ball kids for the second time in a row and get a chance to meet their heroes at the T2 Diamond Table Tennis League, which will be held in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Baru, next month.

Samuel Low Yu Hang, 18, and Lim Yi Siew, 14, were among 30 youngsters who took part in the first of three trials, held at Ninja Table Tennis Centre here earlier this month.

They were tested on their ability to stay focused on catching and tossing the ball, reaction time, speed and agility.

Samuel said he was hopeful of being able to be a part of the tournament as he had many memorable experiences in the previous season held in 2017, including interacting with former world number one table tennis player Timo Boll.

“After the T2 season one event, I was inspired to take up table tennis and scouted for coaches and centres where I could take up the game. I did and now train on a regular basis.

“I am very excited and hoping I will make it again for this year too and be part of Timo’s game,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yi Siew said her target was to be a ball kid for Ma Long, the current Olympic and world champion from China.

“He is my hero and being a ball kid means I will be able to watch him play, really close and hopefully get some tips on becoming a better table tennis player in the future.

“Perhaps I might even get to take a selfie,” she added.

T2 Diamond marketing director Belinda Liew said it was really exciting to bring the tournament to fans in the form of these trials to be ball kids and give Malaysians the once-in-a-lifetime experience to be part of a global sporting event.“There will be two more trials and we expect at least another 100 ball boys and girls to participate,” she said, adding that 20 ball kids from ages seven and above would be chosen for the main event.

Another trial was held at SJK(C) Chee Tong in Masai on Saturday and the final trial would be on June 29 at Sincere Sports Centre in Nusa Bestari from 2pm to 6pm.

The T2 Diamond Table Tennis League will be held at the Pinewood Iskandar Studios from July 18 to 21. Tickets for the event are now available with early bird offers as low as RM25.

Tickets are sold at www.airasiaredtix.com/t2diamondmy

The T2 Diamond Table Tennis League, the all-new grand slam of table tennis organised in collaboration with the International Tennis Federation (ITTF), features 32 of the world’s best men and women players, with a total purse of US$1.5mil (RM6.2mil).

It is a progressive competition format that aims to amplify the appeal of table tennis across regions where it was introduced for the first time in professional table tennis in 2017, with matches held under a 24-minute time limit.

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