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Phillip Xiao has created table tennis history in 2009. Xiao competed at the 2009 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Malta Junior Open in Cospicua where he combined with Sweden’s Hampus Soderlund to win the Junior (Under 18) Boys’ Team event. This is the first time that a New Zealander has captured top honours in an ITTF Junior Circuit team event. Xiao and Hampus Soderlund beat Spain’s Alvaro Robles and Ferran Brugada at the final hurdle.
The University of Auckland student, and current New Zealand under 18 Boy’s singles titleholder, divides his time between study and training at the Auckland table tennis stadium. His efforts are evident with a number of recent domestic successes in addition to international success. Xiao won the Open Men’s singles title at the ANZAC Day Open and recently won the Under 18 Boy’s singles title at the Auckland Junior Open.
“Phillip has long been one of New Zealand’s leading junior table tennis athletes and is now beginning to experience success in the New Zealand senior ranks, and internationally. He has a very promising future ahead of him,” says Shane Warbrooke, Table Tennis New Zealand High Performance Director.
Xiao has been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2009 ITTF Australia Junior Open on the Gold Coast in June. At the event he aims to assist the New Zealand Junior Boy’s team in qualifying for the World Junior Championships for the first time since 2003. The World Junior Championships will be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia in December 2009. Xiao has also been selected as a member of the New Zealand Men’s team to compete at the 2009 Australian Senior Open in Melbourne.
Xiao is the recipient of a Lim Brothers ATTA Elite Player Scholarship for the 2009 season. Lim Brothers Import and Export Company Ltd. and the Auckland Table Tennis Association have jointly contributed funds to the project in order to assist players who have made significant sacrifice in order to develop their table tennis game.
Xiao is the favourite to take out the Under 18 Boy’s singles title at the upcoming North Island Table Tennis Championships at the B & M Centre, Pascal Street, Palmerston North from 16th – 19th July, 2009.