England’s number 1 cadet Tin-Tin Ho has become the first English female table tennis player to be selected by Europe for the World Cadet Challenge being held this October-November in Guam.
Tin-Tin, who this season has won the Portuguese Youth Open and the French Open, was selected by the ITTF for the competition over 27th October – 4th November as part of the European team.
The 13-year-old from Paddington was honoured at her appointment, she said: “I am very happy and also surprised that I am the first English girl to compete at the World Cadet Challenge. It gives me a lot of confidence because this season proves to me that I can do very well internationally.”
She joins Alena Lemmer from Germany, who beat Tin-Tin at the recent European Youth Championships where the English girl secured bronze, as well as France’s Marie Migot and Romania’s Andrea Clapa. Russia’s Maria Malanina will be the team’s reserve player.
The four-strong squad from Europe will compete against teams from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, Oceania, the host nation Guam as well as a ‘World Hopes Team’. With a real chance of at least reaching the team final – it will be important as to how well these cadet players gel as a team.
This should not be a problem as the European players have gained a lot of experience between them as Tin-Tin explained: “I have known these players for a very long time, I have even shared a room with Alena Lemmer for seven days during a training camp in Italy. Marie Migot and Andrea Clapa are in the same age group as I am, so we see each other quite often – I have also been to training camps with them.” She added: “I think it will be quite easy to make a team as we have known each other for a long time.”
England has experienced success at the tournament before in the boys events where London 2012 Olympian, Paul Drinkhall, helped the England team to the Championship in Dominica in 2005. Alongside Darius Knight, Gavin Evans and Damien Nicholls they were triumphant over the continental representative sides.
Drinkhall himself came second in the singles to Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira (current world number 53) in 2005 while Evans was the doubles champion (with France’s Simon Gauzy) and team champion (with Gauzy and Romain Lorentz – both France) at the 2008 competition in Sweden.
As the first English girl to enter, Tin-Tin’s expectations are uncertain. She said: “In this tournament I am not really sure as I have not played many players in the world, mainly Europe. But, I think I can do well and also the members in my team are very strong so we can also do very well.”
European Squad for World Cadet Challenge 27 Oct – 4 Nov, Mangilao, Guam
Alena Lemmer (Germany)
Marie Migot (France)
Tin-Tin Ho (England)
Alena Clapa (Romania)
Reserve – Maria Malanina (Russia)
By Russell Moore