Jenson Van Emburgh
Class/Disability: I am a class 3 with a level T-1 Spinal Cord Injury.
How did you get involved with table tennis? When I was 9 years old I went to one of my brother's National Tennis Tournament and the tennis club had tables for table tennis. It was hot outside, so I stayed inside the club and played all day with the kids that were waiting to play their tennis matches. I loved the game so much that my parents bought me an old table for our garage. I spent the last 3 summers playing table tennis with my brother when he was home and with my friends in my neighborhood and my Dad too. Then I got to go to the National Junior Disability Championships and I won so I became more serious about the sport. I also got a new table.
What are your goals in Para Table Tennis? I want to be the best wheelchair table tennis player I can be and I want to go to the Paralympics and I want to be really good and win lots of tournaments like Mike Dempsey.
What is your favorite para table tennis tournament? My favorite is the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament because it was my first para tournament and because it was in memory of Mike Dempsey.
What is your training schedule? I have really only been training in the summers, but I want to be able to train two hours a day during the school week and more hours on my weekends. If we move my table inside and I get a robo-pong, I will be happy.
Who is your coach? Ladislav Sranko is now my first coach, but he lives 2 hours away from me. We are going to try hard to get together.
What other sports do you play? I play wheelchair tennis too, but table tennis is my favorite.
What tips would you give to other para hopefuls? Don't get down on yourself if you are losing because you are young. Keep working hard and don't give up.
What parts of your game are you working on? I need to work on my serves and getting back in to the ready position with my racket up. I need to work on creating more angles, different shots and my forehand. I also need to work on staying positive in my matches because my performance goes down when I get down on myself.
Share your thoughts on your experience at the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament. It was the best experience that I have ever had with table tennis. I learned so much and I am very happy I was able to go. All of the coaches were the greatest. Coach Stellan, Angie, Evans, and Goradz helped me improve my game. I hope I can see them all again. I thank them for everything they did for me. I also loved making new friends and meeting people from other countries.
Best Tournament Results so far? It would be my Team doubles win over Canada with my partner Doyle Harbaugh at the Mike Dempsey Tournament. I am also proud of my first place win in the able bodied u 1400 tournament in Rockford and I am proud of my first places at the NJDC.
What is your next para tournament? I don't know, but I hope it is soon.