Gulgong's Michelle Bromley qualifies for Tokyo Olympic team

JOY: The moment Michelle knew she'd qualified for the Olympic team. Photo: Table Tennis Australia
JOY: The moment Michelle knew she'd qualified for the Olympic team. Photo: Table Tennis Australia

Gulgong's Michelle Bromley has qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games and will be nominated to represent Australia in table tennis.

Achieving top ranking in a gruelling three-day qualification event, Michelle will head to Tokyo in July to battle against the world's best table tennis players for gold on the world stage.

Michelle spoke with the Mudgee Guardian the morning after her win and says the realisation hasn't quite sunk in yet.

"I'm still on cloud nine and can't believe it's real yet," she laughed.

The qualification event pits Australia's best table tennis players against each other to compete for a top two position and a spot on the Australian team - pending approval by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Michelle's impressive run saw her win eight of nine matches and earned her the top ranking, losing only one match on the second day.

"I went into the tournament seeded fourth and so - I was pretty happy with the lineup I had across the three days. I played, for the most part, the easier matches through to the most hard matches on the final day. It allowed me to ease my nerves and my mind. So by day three I was ready to fire," Michelle said.

FOCUS: Michelle in action at qualifying. Photo: Table Tennis Australia

FOCUS: Michelle in action at qualifying. Photo: Table Tennis Australia

"Playing a number two seed...followed by the number one seed...which I've only ever beaten once throughout my table tennis career. To be able to pull that off at such a crucial time was pretty epic."

Michelle works a day job from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and trains three hours a night, six days a week. 80 per cent of the training is on court and 20 per cent is spent at the gym.

Michelle had a strong support group with her at the event, something she said got her over the line, having failed at three earlier attempts at Olympic qualification over the years.

"I had a bit of a family support crew down here, with my brother, sister-in-law, aunty, cousin my husband and my mum and they were all absolutely ecstatic," she said.

"They've seen all the ups and downs of my sporting career to date so it's been really great to be able to share this amazing experience with all of them, and just to have them down here at such an important event and will me over the line was amazing."

CEO of Table Tennis Australia, Scott Houston said Michelle's dedication was second to none.

"Michelle's is a great story. She was a talented junior, winning numerous national titles. Then when she broke into the senior ranks there was a long line of players in front of her. Over the course of the past 12 years, she has continued to improve and build her game," he said.

"Her work ethic and dedication is second to none and her fitness levels are first class. It was very pleasing to see her play her best when it was needed most. When her name was read out as the tournament winner, it was the loudest cheer of the event; everyone knows how hard she's worked for so long and we're happy for her."

FAMILY: Michelle huge her brother John after qualifying for the Olympics. Photo: Table Tennis Australia

FAMILY: Michelle huge her brother John after qualifying for the Olympics. Photo: Table Tennis Australia

It's been Michelle's dream to represent her country in the Olympics, but says there will still be a lot of nerves.

"1000 per cent there will be nerves. I'm definitely the type of person to say 'chuck me on the back court with no one watching'. It'll be a totally foreign environment for me playing in such a huge event but I'll be doing a lot of mental prep just to make sure I'm in the right mindset to bring my best for the games," she said.

Michelle's family history is inextricably linked to the sport.

"It's been a family sport right from the get-go. My parents met at table tennis and both grandparents played as well so it was only natural for me to start playing with two older brothers who had picked up the bat already," she said.

"I started playing at seven-years-old, hitting the ball against the kitchen wall at home, and then once I got a bit taller progressed to the table and from there used to train with my dad every night in the shed at home.

"Being the only family in the area that was a table tennis family my training partners were limited but at least I had a good one in dad," Michelle laughed.

"I moved to Sydney when I was 18 and never looked back. I kept training and working towards my goals and now I've finally ticked off the big one."

This story Gulgong's Michelle Bromley qualifies for Tokyo Olympics first appeared on Mudgee Guardian.