Talented teen in training
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.