How robot helped debutant secure Tokyo Olympic team spot

When Michelle Bromley was young she drove her mum nuts hitting a table tennis ball against the kitchen wall because she was too little to reach the table.

As she grew, she had her mum, dad and older brothers to sharpen her skills against.

But now, while competition is tough to come by during the coronavirus pandemic, she has Rambo.

"It send my mum crazy but I just loved it. It's quite an addictive sport," said Bromley of her original training regimen.

Table tennis player Michelle Bromley and Rambo during COVID. Pic: Supplied.
Table tennis player Michelle Bromley and Rambo during COVID. Pic: Supplied.


"I wasn't tall enough to be at a table until seven and then I had opponents on tap.

"Now I have a robot, a little machine at one end of the table which shoots balls out. You can program it to go all over the place."

Bromley, who has been allowed to play since July when reactions eased but still trains with Rambo four to five times a week, is the latest athlete to make the Australian Olympic team ahead of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be held next year.

I've been trying to qualify for 12 years," said the 32-year-old from Gulgong, near Mudgee, now living in Macquarie Park and working in brand management and marketing for Nestle.

 

Table tennis player Michelle Bromley as a youngster with her brothers. Pic: Supplied.
Table tennis player Michelle Bromley as a youngster with her brothers. Pic: Supplied.


She dedicated her selection to her father and coach Dave, who passed away in 2012.

"It was a really special moment," she said. "It's a shame he hasn't been around. He would have been super stoked for me. It would have made his life."

Joining Bromley in the Tokyo team is Beijing Olympian Stephanie Sang and Rio Olympians David Powell and Chris Yan.

The selection takes the Australian Olympic team size for Tokyo 2020 to 74 athletes.

Originally published as How robot helped debutant secure Tokyo Olympic team spot


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