At table with the big guns

ROCKHAMPTON table tennis player Joel Coughlan is anxious to test his skills against Australia's best juniors.

Coughlan, 17, is Rockhampton's sole representative at the National Junior Championships starting in Melbourne on Saturday.

After being unable to attend last year's titles in Western Australia, Coughlan is keen to return and hopefully gain Australian team selection.

He also hopes to join the top 10 in the under-18 men's division ? an honour he last received playing in the under-16s back in 2003.

Coughlan expects new challenges.

"The game's now played a lot shorter, you have to be more aggressive, it's a lot faster and you need to be more consistent,'' Coughlan said.

The Rockhampton Table Tennis Association member will also hit the tables a day earlier to adapt to their different surfaces, which provide a lower bounce and are slower.

They are changes Coughlan has successfully adapted to since making his table tennis debut as a nine-year-old.

Coughlan is keeping table tennis in the family.

He first started the sport after his brother Justin, now 25, first started playing ? other Coughlan siblings still hitting the tables are Dane, 19, Kerrod, 13, and Zachary, 10.

Coughlan's two sisters Simone, 23, and Megan, 21, opted for long distance running.



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