Tin-Tin Ho has two years to decide if she wants a professional career in table tennis according to England’s senior coach Alan Cooke.
The Bayswater teenager has captured the hearts of the media with her exploits at the Commonwealth Games - her first senior international championship – where she advanced to the semi-finals of the mixed doubles with partner Liam Pitchford.
She getting used to television cameras and journalists stopping her at every turn with her play showing increasing maturity.
All this comes with Ho squeezing in practice wherever she can while studying for her GCSE’s at City of London School in Barbican. However, Cooke suggested the demands of the sport mean such a juggling act is only viable for so long and that crunch time would soon be approaching.
He said: “Tin-Tin is doing everything at the moment she can do. She is still at school, so obviously balancing her professional or what we certainly hope will be a professional life in table tennis with doing her schoolwork which is very important for her.
“The big challenge will come a couple of years down the line and it will be how she manages that and whether she wants to continue with her studies.“To be really good in a sport like table-tennis you have to spend five or six hours a day one the table as well as doing the physical practice as well. The balance is never easy to achieve.”
Ho’s victory in the mixed doubles leaves her two chances of taking a medal home to west London and it was won achieved the hard way against Canadian duo Zhen Eugene Wang and Mo Zhang.The English pair led 1-0 and 2-1, but were pegged back on both occasions as the match went into a decider.
The situation evoked memories of her final rubber defeat in a last-game decider in the women’s team event on Saturday, but this time the outcome was different as she and Pitchford dug in to take the final game 11-8 and advance to the last four. Next up for them tomorrow is the acid test against the No 1 seeds Jian Zhan and Tianwei Feng from Singapore.
Cooke feels the young partnership is developing well.He added: “They have not had a huge amount of practice together because Tin-Tin is only 15 and only starting off in her career, but already I can see great improvements in the connection they have got together at the table.
“Liam has had an incredible rise in the rankings this year, but he respects how good Tin-Tin is and in a doubles it is never one player it is about both of them and she is playing a great role in the combination between the two. Tin-Tin is obviously very shy, but when it comes to the table-tennis side of things she will give her opinion and the way I see it things are working great.”
On a good day for Ho, she also advanced to the third round of the women’s doubles in partnership with Karina Le Fevre, the duo receiving a walkover against proposed opponents Jody-Ann Blake and Nathalie Cummings from Guyana.