July 26, 2022, by brzbs1
Commonwealth Athlete in Focus: Tin-Tin Ho
Table Tennis sport scholar Tin-Tin Ho is preparing for another major summer tournament having already claimed three Commonwealth medals, as well as having represented Team GB at last summers Olympic games. Winning Commonwealth silver in 2014, and a bronze and silver medal in 2018, Tin-Tin will be giving her all to complete the set in Birmingham. We caught up with Tin-Tin around the time of her selection announcement by Team England to find out how she feels heading into these games with more experience under her belt, as well as talking about her time at the University of Nottingham so far.
Hi Tin-Tin, great to speak to you. This is going to be your third Commonwealth Games, are you as excited for these games as you have been for previous games?
Yes, definitely! I think I know what to expect because of my previous experiences but I’m still as equally excited for these games.
How has the lead-up to these games been different to others, especially with it being a home games?
I’m not sure to be honest! Although it wasn’t technically a home games for me, Glasgow certainly felt like a home games but maybe it’ll be even more of a home game atmosphere in Birmingham as obviously I am representing Team England. It’ll definitely be different to the Gold Coast in Australia for 2018 as the crowd was against us, but I’m equally as excited – it’s a Commonwealth Games so I’m sure it’ll be good!
With it being at home, do you have friends and family planning to travel to Birmingham to watch?
I think some have got tickets so I think there will definitely be some there to support me which will be great.
In preparation for the games you recently attended the Team England kitting out day. How did it feel to receive and put on your England kit?
It’s really cool – it’s actually really cool to see how creative the kit designers can be! Then with all the additional bits of goodies that you receive with your kit bag are interesting. Those are the most exciting parts. I like seeing all the different things they give us to try out and keep as mementos.
You’ve gone from going to your first games to now being one of the more senior players in the squad and welcoming newer players to a Commonwealth Games, how does that change your role within the set-up?
I guess I feel a little bit like a leader but not in an outright sense. I have to set an expectation for the team and welcome members of the team into the group. Maria (Tsaptsinos, another Nottingham alumna) has been to Commonwealths before too so I think we’ll both kind of show the basics of how to prepare and perform at the games. Hopefully we’ll be good at that and look forward to welcoming new team mates to the experience.
What advice would you give to the new players joining up with the squad?
I think I would say just enjoy and make the most of every experience. I remember my first games – I was just in such awe to be in the team so I was waking up feeling really grateful and excited. You have to try and not get too bogged down with things that could stress you out and focus on the bigger picture of enjoying the atmosphere of the games, and enjoy competing, and giving it your all.
Which areas of your game have you been working on in the build-up to the Commonwealths?
I’ve been working on quite a lot actually! I’ve worked on my match play and trying to play more aggressively within matches, especially when serving as I think I need to be braver. I’ve also been continuing to improve my forehand and backhand technique.
It must be great to have Kelly Sibley (University of Nottingham Table Tennis Head Coach) within the Team England camp having played with her at previous games, as well as continued to be coached by her with the #GreenandGold?
I think her experiences as a player bring a great deal of value to her coaching. She’s been to games and understands what’s required. In Australia she was a leader within the team and I looked up to her a lot – she was one of my role models as a player so I think having her as a coach now is equally as good!
How important is the crowd in contributing to the energy at the games and the way in which you play?
I think the crowd can be very important. I haven’t had too much experience playing in front of big crowds apart from at Commonwealths and other major tournaments. I just try to play the same no matter what, but I think having a big home crowd forces you to enjoy the moment a bit more and use that buzz to your advantage.
As a dual-career athlete at the University of Nottingham how have you balanced your study with your sport, and what support have you had to achieve this?
I’ve had a lot of help from the university, both on the sporting side and from the School of Medicine. The academic faculty have helped me manage my time with meetings about what I can achieve with my studies and building that around tournaments and training which has been really helpful and my personal tutor has also been really good. They’ve also been in contact with University of Nottingham Sport too, to help keep a good balance for me.
We thank Tin-Tin for her time and everyone at University of Nottingham Sport wishes her the very best of luck this summer. Tin-Tin has also recently been nominated for the TASS Athlete of the Year award.
You can find out more about University of Nottingham Sport at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and keep up to date with the #GreenandGold’s achievements by visiting our dedicated Commonwealth web page.
Find out more about performance sport and combining your studies with elite university sport at the University of Nottingham here.
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