Sam set to fly high at nationals

31 Jan 2017

Attending awards' nights and social engagements and an increased public profile have been some of the changes in Sam von Einem's life in the past five months.

Sam, a member of the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) Individual Athlete Program, completed a stunning Paralympic debut in Rio when he won a silver medal for table tennis in the men's class 11 (intellectual disability).

After beating allcomers in the early rounds he went down in the fifth set to world number one Florian van Acker in a thrilling gold medal contest. Sam, 21, became the first Paralympin to win a medal in that sport since 1984.

Sam says he is loving life.

"It has been surreal,'' he said. "There have been lots of awards nights and presentations.''

Sam recently returned from Melbourne where he enjoyed success in his other sporting love - tennis.

He won the Australian Tennis Championship open age event, beating the United Kingdom and Australian number one players as an unseeded player.

This week he heads back to Melbourne (Mornington) to compete at the 2017 Australian National Para Championships where he is expected to do well.

The event runs from February 3-7.

Sam's mum Karen said her son was thriving with the competition and support of SASI and coaches.

"It's been brilliant,'' she said. "Giving up tennis as his main sport for table tennis has been the right thing to do as there is a pathway for table tennis to the top level. And his coaches and SASI have been great.''

Sam of Glengowrie is a member of Woodville Table Tennis Club and is coached by David Lowe.

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