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Katz turns tables on big league players

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The one player sticking out like a sore thumb in the Senior Cape Town Table Tennis league is 11-year-old Milo Katz.

Katz is ranked in second place on the top under-11 table tennis players’ leaderboard in South Africa. However, he’s the only child in the senior league, and has been taking on adults in the sixth division of the eight-tiered league.

Having played in a junior league last year, this Grade 5 student at Herzlia Weizmann Primary School joined Boundary Table Tennis Club in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, at the beginning of this year, and started playing for its senior team.

“My coach asked if I wanted to play senior league, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Katz recalls. “My first match in the senior league was against Mitchell’s Plain Royals in Mitchell’s Plain. I enjoyed it, so I decided to continue in the senior league.”

Each league match consists of six singles games and one doubles game, played at home or away. A team is comprised of three players, two of whom play three singles games each and one of whom will partner the third player in the doubles match. “I enjoy it because I get a lot of experience,” Katz says.

He loves how the table tennis ball moves and the different ways you can make the ball swerve and spin. He usually practices two to three times a week, and has a table tennis table at home.

Katz started playing table tennis with his brother, Joseph, when their mother bought them the table. “We fell in love with the sport,” he says. His father, Anton, played table tennis as a child and now attends all of his matches. Joseph, 15, is a social player who plays for fun. He spends a lot of his spare time immersed in Cambridge Maths.

Katz had a memorable year last year when he came third in the Junior South African Table Tennis Championships and won the Free State Open for his age.

Katz, who also plays scrumhalf for the Hamiltons under-11 rugby team in Cape Town, hopes to continue improving and having fun with table tennis. “I also hope to get into the South African team and win the South African Table Tennis Championships,” he says. “I would enjoy that seven-day-long tournament.”

Playing in Bonteheuwel may be the perfect breeding ground for him to achieve these goals. After all, South Africa’s top rated table tennis player in 2023, Theo Cogill, started playing table tennis at his primary school, E.A. Janari Primary, in Bonteheuwel.

In addition, Bonteheuwel-born Genevieve Lentz joined the Boundary Table Tennis Club in 1999, and went on to make history at the 2020 Olympics by becoming the first woman from Africa to referee table tennis at the Games.

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