Williamstown’s Nathan Pellissier says China and Japan are the countries to watch, as he prepares for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Pellissier is one of three captains of Australia’s Para-table tennis squad.
The 25-year-old is studying a Masters of Professional Accounting and Finance and working part-time at Coolabah Law Chambers while preparing for his first Paralympics.
It has been a physically challenging time in more ways than one.
Born with cerebral palsy, Pellissier has had two hip surgeries and bone grafts in a four-year period late last decade as his bones and muscles grow painfully at separate rates.
But he has never taken his eyes off Tokyo throughout.
In 2017, he won gold at three major international championships: the Oceania Regional Championships in Fiji and Korean and Taiwan para opens.
The following year, he lived and trained in Munich, Germany, in preparation for his second singles World Championships.
In 2019, the qualifying year for Tokyo, Pellissier was based in Germany training under Thomas Wetzel at his International Table Tennis Academy.
Pellissier said that as a kid he “fell in love with table tennis and never looked back”.
“I finally got picked on my first Australian team in 2010 to go to Taiwan and then from there I was there I was trying to quality for the Paralympics since 2012,” he said.
“It’s taken a while.”
Pellissier this week returned home after training with the Australian Olympic Team in Brisbane.
He will continue to train and finalise his preparations before departing Australia in August 18 to compete from August 24.
Training involves about two and a half hours a day on the table and three gym sessions a week.
“On the table, it’s a lot of technique,” he said.
“We’re working on service, service return, and at the moment it’s a lot of mental game and tactics to try to develop tactics for game play at the Paralympics,” Pellissier said.
“The Chinese and Japanese are very strong, as well – from my disability class – Sweden and Great Britain are quite strong as well.”