Lao Table tennis players need more practice for 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Thursday, July 2, 2009

Photo: Ms Thibphakone Southammavong trains at the Lao Table Tennis Federation club.

The Lao table tennis team will struggle to win medals at the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane this December due to a lack of training, according to a senior official.

Secretary General of the Lao Table Tennis Federation, Mrs Somchay Vongsa, said if the national players trained regularly and competed in more international tournaments, they may have a chance of winning medals at the SEA Games in 2011.

The team has been training at the federation's club since last August.

Sixteen members of the team are training in Vientiane , while a further three are training in Bangkok , Thailand .

The squad is being guided by coaches from China , Thailand and Laos in the lead-up to the games.

Mrs Vongsa said the Lao government plans to support the federation by spending more than US$100,000 on six tables for training and a further six tables for competition, as well as some other international standard equipment from Sweden.

The federation will host the table tennis event at the National University of Laos.

The younger members of the Lao team gained some experience after competing in the 15th South East Asia Junior Championships in Bangkok , Thailand , on June 23.

Other players competed in the All Thailand table tennis tournament from June 27-29, which consisted of U-12 and open divisions.

The All Thailand event is held five times a year. The federation will send five men and five women to compete at other events in July and August.

Mrs Vongsa said the Lao team will gain good experience from the tournament, which attracts the best players in Thailand .

The federation also plans to send national players to other international tournaments in neighbouring countries before the games begin, Mrs Vongsa said.

Next year, the federation will encourage students at lower and upper secondary schools in Vientiane to take up table tennis in an effort to boost national stocks of talented players.

One member of the national team, Ms Thibphakone Southammavong, is a 21-year-old student at the Faculty of Engineering of the National University of Laos.

Ms Thibphakone said the Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian teams were very strong and included some of the best players in the world.

She said while the Lao squad may have a chance of winning a medal in the team event (three players) at the SEA Games, they will struggle for success in singles and doubles events.

Ms Thibphakone began playing table tennis in primary school and has gone on to represent her country several times. She won three gold medals in the doubles, team and mixed doubles events at the eighth National Games in Champassak province last December.

She was unsuccessful in medal attempts at the 22nd SEA Games in Vietnam in 2003 and the 24th SEA Games in Thailand in 2007, which she attributed to nerves and lack of experience at the international level.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

1 Comment
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    Posted on July 15, 2009 at 12:11 AM

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