World Table Tennis Day is celebrated on April 6. Initiator for establishing the new sport holiday was International Table Tennis Federation in 2015.
Anton Shcherbak, a graduate of South Ural State University, decided to dedicate his life to table tennis. The athlete told us, from what did his sport career started, how SUSU helped with this, and what goals the graduate has today.
‒ From what did your sport career started?
‒ Before the moment I started to attend a table tennis club I used to play volleyball for several years. However, having played table tennis with my friends in the yard, I realized that this is exactly the kind of sport I would like to put my time and efforts into. After playing in the yard, being accepted to the classes for professional table tennis players made me even more sure about the rightness of this choice.
Because of the fact that I was a bit older than the main contingent of training groups, I had to more than the others show my determination and desire to learn to play in order to take part in competitions. I also had to prove my potential in order to earn attention of the coach. Gradually, I started winning prizes at tournaments of various level, but to be honest, from the very beginning and till the present time I have been putting a lot of efforts (physical and emotional) to not only develop as a player but also maintain my level.
‒ What is with your sport activity as of nowadays?
‒ At the moment, 11 years after my first visit of the table tennis gym, I have the rank as a Candidate Master of Sports. I consider my most significant achievement to be the victory at the regional stage of All-Russian Summer Universiade as a member of SUSU team.
Generally, I try to play at tournaments of various categories, from city to All-Russian, as often as possible, provided that my working schedule allows this. I have some goals in table tennis that I haven’t achieved yet, so I try to dedicate a lot of my free time to training. This allows reducing tiredness after a workday in the office; at that, I am enjoying the process of playing.
At the Sport School of Olympic Reserve where my training takes place, I have a position of an instructing athlete. My main responsibility is training of young athletes, starting from children for whom this is the first year of playing and to the most skillful and prospective tennis players of the School at the moment.
‒ Who are your role models among famous table tennis players?
‒ In the latest years, Chinese athletes are dominating in table tennis, so most of all I like watching the play of Ma Long (two-time world champion and the Olympic champion). He is impressive not only with his play but also with his patience, determination and confidence.
Among Europeans I would like to note the athletes Timo Boll and Dmitry Ovcharov. They are the only ones who somehow provide competition to Chinese athletes.
‒ In your opinion, what qualities should a tennis player have?
‒ A good tennis player is distinctive from a medium-level player by two general moments: the ability to think through and ahead of combinations, predict the opponent’s actions and transform the game pattern; the second quality is psychological stability. Of course, the speed of movement, the speed of reaction and endurance are very important as well, but when all athletes are approximately of the same level of physical training, real champions are distinctive by the qualities that I’ve just named.
‒ How did SUSU help in your sport career?
‒ After enrollment to SUSU my sport life became more eventful, and I am very grateful to the university for that. I got the possibility to take part in competitions of student teams at all levels (city, regional, etc.) and improve my playing skills. At that, in combination with studying, I had the opportunity to receive increased scholarship, which was an extra-motivation for training.
The university gave me the chance to develop myself in various areas. During the years of studying I realized that the person who puts a lot of efforts in any kind of activity will always get a worthy feedback from the coaching and teaching staff! Therefore, I recall my student years with joy, pride and gratitude for the given opportunities for self-fulfillment.
‒ What are your today’s goals in your sport career?
‒ My major goal for the last several years has been obtaining the rank of Master of Sports. However, if this doesn’t happen, I would like to always find joy in playing table tennis, because a lot of things are connected with this game.