Tin-Tin Ho is a 17 year old table tennis player, born 3 September 1998. She is currently England's 2nd best woman in table tennis, just behind Kelly Sibley. Tin-Tin competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games with Liam Pitchford in the Mixed Doubles event, where she won silver.
After getting in contact with Tin-Tin, she was very willing to answer a few questions on the sport and even mentioned she might be able to make an appearance in Colchester at a later date!
I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did compiling the questions when I found out I had the privilege of interviewing such an inspiration young lady.
Questions and Answers
1) How did you get introduced to the sport and was it at a really young age?
Tin-Tin: My father is an ex-international Hong Kong player and he loves the sport very much. He introduced table tennis to my brother and then to me at 5 years old. The very first time I picked a bat up was at 2 but started training seriously at 5.
2) Your name, Tin-Tin, is apparently based on the initials of table tennis – “TT”. What would have happened if you didn’t enjoy playing table tennis when you were introduced to it?
Tin-Tin: That is right, if I didn’t enjoy table tennis I would just have continued with my life normally as Tin-Tin also has a nice Chinese meaning; ‘Tin’ means ‘sky’.
3) As you are only 17, education must still be fresh in your mind. How did education affect you as a table tennis player? Or how did table tennis affect your education?
Tin-Tin: Yes I am currently studying for my AS Levels. Playing sport and studying has allowed me to learn how to prioritise. I do enjoy school and I am interested in learning whilst wanting to excel in exams therefore it is difficult to balance the two. However I feel sometimes it’s mentally good to study as a break from table tennis or the other way round. Although I cannot train as much as I would like because of school, I feel like I am able to get the balance right and train with quality rather than quantity.
4) How does it feel to currently be the 2nd best female at table tennis in England at such a young age?
Tin-Tin: It feels really great. But it would feel even nicer to be number 1 so I am training hard to get there!
5) The Colchester league features many young players that have a passion for the sport. What advice and encouragement would you give other young table tennis players who are still unsure table tennis is for them?
Tin-Tin: Table tennis is a complex sport, it is almost like a puzzle as you must figure out how to beat the opponent with your tactics. It is really great especially when you feel like your hard work pays off in particular matches. The adrenaline of the sport is also very exciting so I would encourage the players to stick to it and persevere to succeed as any sport would take a lot of hard work! However of course if the players really enjoy another sport then they must do what they love.
6) Table tennis is a developing sport within schools. I feel like there is still a lot more that can be done to encourage more children to take up the sport. What was table tennis like at your school and do you think more can be done to raise participation numbers? If so, what?
Tin-Tin: Up until now, we did not have a table at school. My dad used to coach at my primary school but at secondary we excelled at netball, swimming, football and gymnastics. Fortunately, my economics teacher enjoys table tennis so he managed to persuade the PE department to order a table in which will be used to encourage pupils to begin playing. A lot more can be done to raise participation, the most important is media as that is where the funding comes from. Without sponsorships it is very difficult to send the players to competitions to achieve the results they train hard for. Having more clubs around UK is also key as it would make it easier for those who want to start, to play. It is always difficult for parents to drive their children across England everyday for training and it takes a lot of dedication, so having more clubs would help a lot.
7) What do you think is the most important aspect to becoming a successful table tennis player?
Tin-Tin: The most important aspect is perseverance and being mentally confident. One may work very hard but without the confidence they cannot perform to their standard. However hard work will help with confidence as working hard gives players the confidence that they can achieve. There are thousands of losses, unexpected and expected in a table tennis career so perseverance is key. Furthermore injuries are a big factor for most players therefore this perseverance is very important.
8) What is the proudest moment you have experienced so far?
Tin-Tin: My proudest moment is winning the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 Mixed doubles because Liam Pitchford and I beat the number 1 Singaporean seeds. Also my dad was watching in Glasgow and it was great to win in front of him as he does not see me play much abroad.
9) Would it ever be possible for you to come to Colchester in your spare time and visit one of our clubs that help to coach juniors, and give them some training on how to play table tennis as well as a meet and greet session?
Tin-Tin: Yes I would love to if I have the time as I am quite busy at the moment but hopefully I can find some time.
Questions answered Wednesday 16th December 2015
Tom Lewis - CDTTL Press Officer