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Cameron celebrates Scotland call-up with Moray visit

By Craig Christie

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AHEAD of his sixth world championships appearance, Moray’s very own table tennis hero was back home inspiring the next generation of players in his sport.

Niall Cameron first picked up a bat at Elgin Academy, where his raw talents developed into an outstanding ability which spawned more than a century of international caps.

Selected once again by Scotland at the age of 39, he heads for Budapest next month to compete in the worlds, exactly 20 years after his debut in the competition in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

The London-based Moravian returned home this week to visit family, taking time out to join asession at the Moray Table Tennis Club started by his friend Stephen Gertsen, a Moray College lecturer and Scotland international coach.

“Two or three years ago when the club was just starting we did a few trips around some of the schools, doing demos and trying to drum up some interest,” Cameron recalled.

“So it’s good to go back and see what Steve has created from that. It seems to be going really well from what I can see.”

Cameron remembers sessions at the old academy building in his youth, before going to university and
being picked for Scotland
for the first time in 1997. He made Scotland’s Commonwealth Games team for Manchester in 2002 and Glasgow in 2014, and even with his 40th birthday looming on the horizon he has maintained his competitive career to the highest standard.

“It was a bit of a surprise being selected again, given that I’m no spring chicken. But the last year-and-a-half I’ve been playing pretty well and getting some good results and I’ve managed to keep myself fit and get some pretty good training down in London.

Previous stories: Play table tennis in Moray, and learn from a Commonwealth Games coach

“Scotland’s number two Craig Howieson retired so it opened up a space and currently I am ranked at number three and I think my results have been at that level.

“I’ve thought a number of times that my last chance had passed me by so we will see what happens. I’ve been taking one season at a time for the last ten years so I will stick to that tactic.”

One of his secrets to keeping fit and healthy enough to compete internationally in his late 30s is a good diet, and in particular eating copious amounts of spinach.

“I’ve been eating a lot of it in the last while to keep my joints moving, so I will keep that going for the next few months,” he said.

“I think by not focusing on just selection but just playing as well as I can and keep enjoying the game, the opportunities do come and go. They can come back again as my story has shown.”

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