Table tennis is a popular activity during downtime in the boarding houses, and a Grade 11 student saw an opportunity to take it to the next level.
Daniel Zhao, a Flavelle House boarder and his friend started a table tennis club this year to introduce more people to the sport. Daniel says that the sport isn't as well-known in North America as it is in China, and he made it his goal to grow its popularity at SAC to a more competitive level.
"A lot of people think table tennis is just a hobby they play in their basement, but our goal was to show there's a lot more to table tennis than that," says Daniel.
So far, the club is doing quite well, attracting about 40 members with a wide variety of skills, from beginners to more experienced. They meet to play every Wednesday evening in the boarding houses.
Daniel says he wants to start a new SAC tradition. "I would love it if we could start a St. Andrew's annual Table Tennis Tournament where the winner wins a massive trophy!"
Daniel has loved the sport for as long as he can remember, playing since he was six years old. He started to take lessons when he was ten, and he has put plenty of work into the sport.
"Two summers ago, I went to the National Olympic Table Tennis Training Base in Zhengding, China, where I trained for 10 hours a day for three weeks straight."
The work has paid off as Daniel holds several titles, such as the Youth Atlantic Canadian Table Tennis Champion, Atlantic Canadian U3000 Men's Doubles Champion, and Youth Boys Doubles Champion. He looks to defend these titles in the Atlantic Canadian Championships in May, and he has been selected to represent Prince Edward Island at the 2022 Winter Games in Charlottetown, PEI.
Daniel is certainly doing his best to grow the game at the school beyond a club. "If only there were a table tennis team at SAC!" Maybe one day, but for now, Daniel is busy preparing for his upcoming events with plenty of practice at a competitive level while trying to teach others in the table tennis club ways of improving their own game.
Story by Sean Maillet