Two education students from Federation University are preparing to make the trek to Geelong to participate in the Southern University Games, commencing 2 July.  Sam Nicholson and Zachary Klippel are ready to showcase their skills, with the duo making their debut as the sole representatives of the university’s table tennis team.


When asked what made them pursue table tennis, it was the passion of the game, as well as the motivation to win and be successful in an uncommon sport.


“Table tennis isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life,” they say.


The appreciation of table tennis began from a young age, particularly for Nicholson, who was given the opportunity to represent the state in tennis during high school. “I’ve taken the offensive skills I’ve acquired from tennis, such as developing a strong spin game and serve, and I hope to apply this to table tennis.”


As for Zachary, with his background as a promising cricketer he believes that he can perfectly complement Sam’s offensive playing style by providing the defensive batting style. “I think that through my cricketing I’ve developed a good arm swing, so I hope to adopt similar when performing a backhand drive when playing table tennis.”


Already beginning a strict preparation regime, Sam and Zach have been getting up bright and early at 11am for a 6km run, going to the gym lifting weights three days a week, and have incorporated a strict diet which includes the consumption of six raw eggs and six boiled eggs. “We believe that a diet rich in protein is fueling our body in the best way possible, and that going to the gym is assisting us in achieving peak physical and mental fitness needed in order to compete,” Sam said.


Even though they have never played table tennis on a competitive scale before, the duo is aware that they will be challenged but remain adamant that they have a strong chance of winning and progressing to finals.


“I am aware that with such high stakes, the results we want will be difficult to pull off. However, it is a challenge we are up for,” Zachary says. “As Varys from Game of Thrones says, ‘a very small man can cast a very large shadow.’”


The team hopes that participating in Southern Uni games may even pave the way for the development of more professional endeavors in the future.


“We hope perform to a point where sponsorship may be something that can be discussed, and grab the attention of the Victorian Institute of Sport.”


by Dakota Richards