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PH eyes first table tennis gold in 30th SEA Games

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MANILA – The Philippines hopes to make history by winning its first-ever gold medal in table tennis in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila on Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

With the proper motivation and extensive training here and abroad, Philippine Table Tennis Federation, Inc. (PTTFI) President Ting Ledesma believes it can be done.

And judging from the recent success of the national team mainly due to the all-out support by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Ledesma has every reason to feel optimistic.

“We will be very happy to win a silver or even a bronze medal in the coming SEA Games, but we are definitely going for the gold,” said Ledesma during the 33rd “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros last Aug. 1.

“We really want to win that first-ever table tennis gold medal in the SEA Games, especially since we are the host and we will be playing in front of our countrymen,” added Ledesma during the weekly public service program supported by the PSC, National Press Club, PAGCOR, Community Basketball Association, and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks.

Under Ledesma, the country has already won a silver and a bronze medal courtesy of Richard Gonzales in the SEA Games since he assumed office in 2013.

“Under my watch, PTTFI also produced the country’s first-ever table tennis Olympian — the late Ian Lariba. And also, the country’s first Youth Olympian, Jann Mari Nayre,” Ledesma said.

Ledesma said the long and extensive training of the national team members largely due to the timely financial assistance extended by the PSC is now reaping its dividends in terms of performances abroad.

He said Korean coach Kwon Mi Sook is doing a very good job in the training of national team members.

“Yun ginagawa ni coach, yun dedication niya na makuha natin yun SEAG gold, ramdam ko (I can feel,”) he said.

Ledesma also reported the country’s recent success in table tennis.

“I am very happy to report that we just won the title in Division 3 in the Singapore National Table Tennis League (SNTTL) held last July 27-28 in Singapore,” said Ledesma, an active player himself.

The Filipino team, which was composed of several national team standouts and expats, won over players from different Asian countries.

Right now, Ledesma said the national team composed of five male and five female players and two coaches are now in Korea for a two-month and 11-day training with various Korean universities.

“Nakatutuwa dahil this is the first time na nagkaroon ng ganiting mahabang training ang ating mga table tennis players. Yun ang pangarap naming (We’re happy because this is the first time that we got this long preparation of our players). As a player, I trained in China for almost one month at kulang talaga (and it’s not enough),” said Ledesma.

“Pagbalik nila sa (When they come back on) Sept. 11, they will be going to Indonesia for the Asian Table Tennis Championship on Sept. 15-22. Tapos balik uli para sa (Then return again to) Indonesia Open on Nov. 13-17,” he added.

Ledesma said the support of the PSC, headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ranirez, made everything possible.

“Malaking tulong talaga ang PSC kaya nagpapasalamat kami kay Chairman Ramirez at sa iba pang mga commissioners aa kanilang suporta (The PSC is helping us a lot and we would like to thank Chairman Ramirez and other commissioners for their support),” added Ledesma, who used to spend his own money to finance the training of the players. (PR)