No Payne, no gain for medal winning table tennis star
TABLE TENNIS: Warwick table tennis ace Aaron Payne continues to surpass his own expectations with two silver medals from the Pacific School Games.
Held in Adelaide from November 21-29 the competition included teams from China, India, Macau, Cambodia and around Australia.
The Warwick State High School student combined with Bundaberg High students Nicholas Jefferson and Johnny Barrett to form the Queensland team for the week-long competition.
Against AWD (athletes with disabilities) teams of 2-3 players from C1-C11, the three boys fought hard to take a silver medal behind the WA/NSW combined team.
The left-hander then went on to compete in singles in the C6-10 class.
The final turned into another State of Origin face-off with Payne up against Sasha Dansereau from NSW.
In a tight match that went down to the wire, Dansereau secured the win 3-2 and took the gold medal. Payne secured his second silver for the competition.
After his success at the Pacific School Games, Payne has been invited to be part of the Queensland Paralympics trial team to compete in Perth in April next year.
Two years after taking up the sport, Payne has quickly become a rising star despite not having a coach.
The 17-year-old said some of the competitors he came up against had up to three coaches guiding their training.
"It was a big learning experience," he said.
"It was the biggest competition I have been in so far."
Payne's 'coach' is a ball machine that a friend had loaned the family to help him practice.
With only four months to go until he rejoins the Queensland team, Payne is on the hunt for a coach in Warwick.
"We are shed players," his mother Kathy Payne said.
"It would be great to find someone here in Warwick who could help Aaron train."
Payne plays once a week in Toowoomba and joins the over 50s who play at the St Mary's Squash Pavilion each Monday.
Silver medal with the Queensland AWD team
Silver medal in singles in the C6-10 class