Nation?s best young talent hits tables
SOME of the nation's future Olympians, in the sport of table tennis, will converge on Goonellabah over the Easter school holidays for the National Youth (Under-21) Championships.
The youth championships are an important stepping stone for Australia's top players.
Favourite for the men's singles is Victorian Kyle Davis, who has recently been selected in the four-man national men's team for the Commonwealth championships in India later in the year.
Local hopes will rest with 16-year-old Wade Townsend, of Cabarita Beach, who was runner-up in this event last year.
Wade has been in outstanding form lately and recently defeated the No 4 ranked open men's player in Australia.
Other main contenders for the title are the Victorian duo of Robert Frank, the defending champion, and Trent Carter, who earlier this month became the first Australian player to win a world junior circuit event, taking out the Venezuelan championships.
In the women's singles, defending champion Sisi Zhang is one of the favourites after strong performances in youth and open events this year.
The championships will be played at the Far North Coast Table Tennis club stadium in at the Goonellabah Workers Sports Club from Sunday to Saturday.
In addition, the day before the youth championships start a selection competition will be run for the national Under-15 team to represent Australia at the Oceania championships in New Zealand in June.
The top eight boys and girls in this age group will face off against each other in a round-robin event with the top two qualifying for the team for New Zealand.
The favourite for the boys team is Kane Townsend, of Cabarita Beach, the Australian Under-14 champion.