Monash University table tennis player Rossa To will be competing for Australia at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei.
From the community centre in Springvale to playing table tennis in the garage, Rossa To, like most athletes, has humble beginnings.
Rossa credits Simon (her dad) for being the reason she started playing, despite being self-taught and having no trophies of real significance, Simon has always been her main coach and main source of wisdom.
“There was lots and lots of training, at some point I was training 7 days a week with dad in the garage, we didn’t really have a goal of going to compete at any level, the main goal was self-improvement,” said Rossa.
Simon saw something in his daughter from an early age, suggesting, after years of training, that she should start playing pennant at the Greater Dandenong Table Tennis Association.
|Rossa warming up with Simon (her dad) before she played Melbourne University in the 2017 Varsity challenge. Picture: Melbourne University Sport.|
It did not take long for Rossa to show her talent.
At the Victorian Open Junior Championships in 2009, Rossa’s first tournament, she finished runner-up.
She was then selected to represent Victoria at the National Junior Championships in Tasmania, where the team achieved a bronze medal.
Despite her early success, Rossa’s career was hindered by several personal difficulties, causing her to miss a string of National Championships and other key tournaments in the years to follow.
2013 marked the turning point, as she received a wildcard to play in the Junior top 10 Championships.
“I was so nervous at the beginning of that tournament, because I hadn’t played in such a long time prior to that competition.”
Playing against the top 9 ranked junior players in Australia, Rossa beat the number 1 seed on her way to winning the tournament.
“I had played the top seed twice before and never beaten her, not even a chance, but somehow defeated her in five sets that day.”
“Winning top 10 was overwhelming, mum almost cried and dad was extremely proud, all he could do was smile.”
Rossa was then asked to join the Victorian team competing at the National Championships, the Victorian under 18 girls team won the gold medal.
In the following years VCE took precedence over Rossa’s sporting career.
Since Rossa started her Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University, she’s had more opportunities to further her table tennis career.
|Rossa showing immense concentration as she serves in the 2017 Varsity Challenge against Melbourne University. Picture: Melbourne University Sport.|
Rossa competed at the Victorian University Games in 2016, where she helped Monash achieve a bronze medal.
Her talents did not go unnoticed as she was asked to represent Australia at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei.
With support from Monash University, Rossa accepted the invitation.
After all her adversity, Rossa will proudly represent Australia at the Universiade.
As for Simon, he could not be more pleased with his daughter’s success.
“I am very happy that I have trained Rossa well enough to be recognised for her talents, and for her to be able to represent Monash at World Uni Games in this sport.”
Monash University would like to wish Rossa the best at the World University Games.