Monash Science and Education student Heming Hu isn’t taking any time off after representing Australia in Table Tennis at his first Olympic games.
Hu is currently playing at the World ITTF Table Tennis Open in the Czech Republic and will be competing throughout Europe in the coming months.
Reaching the Olympics fulfilled a childhood goal of Hu’s and he said the Olympics were the best experience of his life.
"Playing in the Olympic Games this year was a goal I have had since my childhood years and to finally - after so many unsuccessful attempts - have made it, is unbelievable.”
“The experience being in the Olympics is unreal, playing your sport in front of many thousands against the world’s best.”
A highlight of the Olympic experience for Hu was getting to mix with and see other world-class athletes in action, especially superstar Usain Bolt and Australian basketballer Patty Mills.
A self-proclaimed joker away from the tables, Hu earned the nickname ‘Mr Impersonator’ from the Australian Olympic team for his impressions, including a spot-on rendition of fellow Olympian Rafael Nadal.
Hu started playing table tennis at age seven after following his brother into the sport. He made his international debut at the World Junior Championships in 2008. His career highlights include representing Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Along the way Hu picked up more than his fair share of superstitions. He has to tie his shoe laces extremely tightly before a game, wipe his hand on the table every point, and wear the same shirt he wins in the next day.
But it is not just good luck that gets results for Hu. When playing in Europe Hu trains for five hours a day and when back in Melbourne he has to balance his training and study towards becoming a science teacher.
“I study whenever I am not practicing and sleeping and this tough, tight scheduling is the key to me completing my studies as well as getting sufficient training.”All that hard work is working towards Hu achieving his goal of qualifying for as many Olympics as he can and becoming the Australian singles champion.