Can Female Table Tennis Players Crack This Male-Dominated Sport?

Can Female Table Tennis Players Crack This Male-Dominated Sport?
Photo Credits: Jayadas Chelur

Imagine walking into a table tennis club full of ping-pong balls reverberating throughout the room and the shoes of players squeaking against rubber mats. Imagine a setting where no one of the same gender as you is playing. Imagine having to play with the same people over and over again. Do you feel motivated or demotivated? Do you feel the urge to bridge the gender gap or do you feel left out– alone? The feeling of demotivation is one common reason why there are so few female table tennis athletes playing at table tennis clubs. However, these feelings of demotivation can sometimes quickly transform into feelings of ambition, as national team table tennis player Amoolya Menon experienced.

When Menon first began her table tennis journey, it started out as a hobby. As she got more serious about the game and started training at her local table tennis club, she noticed that there were very few girls and an overwhelming amount of boys training. Initially, this ratio of female to male players bothered her because she felt like she needed to prove herself as a player. However, she soon realized to not let the numbers affect her.

“It’s better to let your games speak for yourself,” said Menon– a key piece of advice to success.

As table tennis has grown as a sport over the years, there has been an increase in the representation of female table tennis athletes playing competitively. Ranging from their fearless demeanors to their unique playing styles, female athletes in the sport have sparked inspiration for many young girls wanting to pursue table tennis as their lifelong sport. Watching young female table tennis players rising in the sport such as Miwa Harimoto and Adriana Diaz creates a sense of motivation and desire to excel in table tennis. Whether it be through watching female table tennis role models or acquiring first-hand experiences to give you motivation– continue striving for what you desire! An essential factor in allowing more females to embrace the sport is to not let demotivation strike them in a way that makes them feel helpless, but rather, use the demotivation as a tool to channel their inner motivation.

“Do it because you love it,” said Menon.