One of the favourites for gold in the women’s table tennis tournament at Nanjing 2014, Thai youngster Tamolwan Khetkhuan is as determined and dedicated as they come.
Tamolwan Khetkhuan is the future of Thai table tennis. Nicknamed Mo, the 17-year-old from Bangkok has starred in every age group on the global scene. In showcasing her unique talent around the world, the teenager has also caught the eye with her winning smile, and an irrepressible desire to keep on improving.
Regarded by the International Table Tennis Federation as one of the biggest talents of the next generation, Tamolwan is now gunning for glory in the women’s tournament at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
“I started playing when I was seven,” she explains, displaying an excellent command of English. “My mother loved table tennis and my brother played too. I started having classes, and when I told the coach I was seven he said it was the perfect time to start.”
“I’ve been playing ever since,” adds Tamolwan, who was 11 when she won the 2009 China Junior and Cadet Open in Chengdu and names China’s Ding Ning, a double Olympic medallist at London 2012, as her main inspiration.
For Tamolwan, China represents familiar territory. “I did my training for Nanjing in Beijing and Shanghai because I couldn’t find many partners in Thailand,” she explains. “It’s better to go and train abroad.”
She certainly feels right at home in the Olympic Village, and plans to use Nanjing 2014 as the springboard for eventual qualification for Rio 2016. “It’s big and beautiful and the canteen’s open 24 hours a day. I’m very excited about taking part in the YOG. My dream is to take part in the Olympic Games, and I’m going to try and make it happen.”
Tamolwan made a fine start to her campaign at the Wutaishan Gymnasium on the first day of competition in Nanjing, comfortably winning her first two matches in Group H of the preliminary round, beating Algeria’s Sannah Lagsir 3-0 and seeing off Canada’s Luo Anqi by the same scoreline.