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Interview with Wirakarn Tayapitak, Thailand's young table tennis star

With her petite frame and doll-like features, Wirakarn Tayapitak may seem like the most non-threatening among the 18 players at the Asia Hopes Week. However, the table tennis prowess of the 11-year-old is anything but child’s play.

Every point won is met with a thunderous roar, accompanied perfectly by a triumphant fist pump. That ferocity and determination are part of the reasons why Wirakarn is one of Thailand’s brightest table tennis hopes. Of course, the other part of the equation includes three-hour training sessions every day, a routine that the Lasalle School student has been performing for the last five years.

Even so, this gruelling schedule has done nothing to dampen Wirakarn’s love for the sport. “I enjoy it,” was the crisp answer when asked why she perseveres in the sport.

Wirakarn’s love affair with table tennis has taken a step forward during the Asia Hopes Week, a week-long training camp for Asia’s best 10-12-year-old players, held for the first time at the SISB Sports Complex. Not only did she get to spar and interact with her peers, the accommodation and competition venue made the experience so much sweeter.

“The beds are so clean and soft, the food is delicious, and the sports complex is fantastic,” said Wirakarn.