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William Henzell's Blog June 22, 2014

My lead-up to the upcoming Commonwealth Games is well underway. There are two-and-a-half weeks until the Aussie team leaves for a week of training in Chengdu, China, before continuing to Glasgow for the Games. It’s almost a month to the day until we play our first matches.

This will be my 4th Commonwealth Games (they are held every 4 years) and will be the toughest I have competed in, with the World number 12, 35, 40, 54, 68, 79 and 84 ahead of me. I’m currently siting at number 106 on the ranking. I’ll be competing in the team event, singles, doubles (with David Powel) and mixed doubles (with Miao Miao).

I’ve had quite a few of the best wins of my career at past Commonwealth Games and it’s an event I usually play well in – the bigger the occasion the more natural motivation I seem to be able to muster. My best result was winning silver at the 2006 Games in front of a home crowd in Melbourne and it’s one of my fondest table tennis memories.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi was a case of near misses. I finished with two 4th places in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles which is probably the toughest spot you can finish in. You’ve made it to the semi-final and are right amongst the medals. From there you’ve lost that match and then have the disappointment of coming away empty handed and without a medal by losing the bronze medal play-off match.

My close calls in Delhi were actually what prompted me to put so much effort into preparing for the 2012 London Olympics. I came back to my work desk after Delhi and sat staring at the wall wondering if the result would be been different if I’d been training full time and not working full. After a few months of soul searching I decided to quit my job and spend the next 18 months putting all I had into being at my best in London. I relocated to the Werner Schlager Academy in Vienna, with my now wife Danielle, for the toughest year of training I’d ever been through. I pushed through and had the best results of my career in London, finishing 17th in the men’s singles.

I’m a little worried about the week of training in China. It will be important not to overdo it for that week. Going from 3 sessions week to 5 hours a day is a massive jump and greatly increases the risk of injury. It will be a fine balancing act to make the most of the fantastic training that will be on offer while still keeping the end goal of performing well in Glasgow at the forefront.

Published date: 
Sun, 06/22/2014 - 18:45