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Younger brother claims bragging rights

Date

Fleta Page

Twelve-year-old Rohan Dhooria won bragging rights over his older brother Raj, 13, in last weekend's ACT table tennis championships.

Rohan beat Raj in the final of the under-13 singles, then went on to win the under-15 title, and capped off his weekend by making the quarter-finals of the open men's competition.

Big brother was gracious in defeat. ''I've tried to [find his weakness], I've tried these short chops and all that'' Raj said. ''Rohan usually finds a way to escape my shots.''

The boys from Marist College took up table tennis in late 2009 when their father bought a table for their home. These days they don't just have each other to play against but a robot as well.

The robot can play 64 different types of shots for the boys to practise returning, with a net catching the balls and feeding them back to the ball machine. The technology is paying dividends, with Rohan, who practises with it for an hour a day, now pushing for selection in the NSW junior squad.

While Raj plays mainly socially, Rohan has spent a summer training in Melbourne with Australian No.2 Simon Gerada, and later this year will spend his summer holidays at a table tennis academy in China.

It's all part of making up for lost time. Having done well in an ACT competition just months after taking up the sport, Rohan entered the NSW Country Championship.

''I got destroyed in under-13s, gone in the first round and after that I didn't want to play anymore, I thought it would be too hard for me to catch up,'' he recalls.

But two years later, Rohan made it all the way to the semi-final, ''so I've caught up to all of them.''

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