Tal­ented teen in train­ing

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Morgan

Bran­don Wal­lace has come a long way in his short ta­ble ten­nis ca­reer.

Af­ter play­ing the sport with his fa­ther over the kitchen ta­ble as a young­ster, the 16-year-old Mt Roskill Gram­mar stu­dent was re­cently named in the New Zealand un­der-18 train­ing squad.

“I started beat­ing dad, so he took me down to the sta­dium.”

The squad, which cur­rently sits at eight mem­bers, will be re­duced to four for the Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships in Tahiti dur­ing July.

While Bran­don hopes to make the team to Tahiti, he’s just “stoked” to have made the train­ing squad.

“I was quite sur­prised to be se­lected. I’ve beaten most of the top play­ers, but they have beaten me as well. Ev­ery­one’s form changes.”

But if his work ethic is any­thing to go by, Bran­don is bound to have a long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

As well as train­ing up to 15 hours a week, the Ep­som res­i­dent of­ten takes on play­ers much older than him­self.

“I try to play some open men – you know if you beat them you’re get­ting some­where.”

And Bran­don’s coach Shane Lauge­sen is con­fi­dent he has the at­tributes to take his game to the next level.

“He’s def­i­nitely a tal­ented ath­lete and has got a re­ally good at­ti­tude to­wards train­ing,” he says.

Lauge­sen is un­sure whether Bran­don will make the team which goes to Tahiti, de­spite his good form.

“The boys are

re­ally quite strong at the mo­ment. They’re push­ing each other along.”

But the for­mer Com­mon­wealth games rep­re­sen­ta­tive is sure his pupil has a big fu­ture in the game.

“It’s up to him how far he wants to take it.”


Eye on the ball: Bran­don Wal­lace has made the New Zealand un­der-18 ta­ble ten­nis squad.

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