Unsung heroes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am


Name Natalie Lam Yee-lok
School Holy Family Canossian College
Grade Form Three
Sport Table Tennis


Natalie, 15, is part of the Hong Kong youth table tennis team. In the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Table Tennis Tournament 2010/11, she was the girls' singles champion and first runner-up in the girls' doubles.

With her Jing Ying tournament singles title, Natalie qualifies for the All China Secondary School Students' Games in Inner Mongolia this July.

Natalie claimed her first International Table Tennis Federation circuit singles title in the 2011 Polish Junior & Cadet Open in Cetniewo, Poland, last month. She also captured the girls' cadet team title in the same tournament with her Hong Kong teammate Wong Wing-tung, and Tamolwan Khetkhuan from Thailand. Earlier this year, she claimed the cadet team title in the Spanish Open and the junior team second runner-up trophy in the French Open.


'I aimed to win my first international singles title this year and I achieved it in Poland,' Natalie says. 'The tall and strong European girls I played against had powerful strokes away from the table, so it took me some time to adapt to their play. I played short strokes near the net to limit my opponents' performance, and this successful strategy earned me the title.

'Many people think mainland players are unbeatable, but I don't believe that. I beat Chinese players in the National Junior Table Tennis Championships in 2009, and only lost to a Beijing girl in the final. That girl had a good serve which I found difficult to return. The match encouraged me to improve my serves to create more scoring chances.'

From her coach

'I have been coaching Natalie for seven years and I think this year will be crucial for her career. She is playing in more international competitions and she needs to make good use of her time and be fully prepared. I also hope she can find ways to play against players of different styles,' said Young Shu-ki, Natalie's personal coach.


'There is a clash in dates next month between the 17th Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in India and the All China Secondary School Students' Games' table tennis event,' Natalie says. 'I am still waiting for my Hong Kong junior team to decide which competition I should attend. I would like to get into the top three in the team competition in India. I don't know who I am going to face if I play in the Students' Games, so it is hard to set a specific target.'