Malta international Andrew Gambina has secured a move abroad as he joins Swedish club Halmstad BTK.
The 27-year-old, who formed part of the Maltese contingent for the 2019 Small Nations Games in Montenegro and is one of the top three table tennis players in Malta, will be playing in the Swedish Second Division with his first appointment being the Halmstad Masters next Friday.
“This is one of Sweden’s biggest tournaments with most of their best players participating,” Gambina told the Times of Malta.
“I would need quite a favourable draw to make it [elimination round] but I know that I can beat some of the younger players that maybe don’t have as much experience yet.”
Gambina praised the Swedish table tennis community and its longterm project which is now producing the country’s next generation of players.
“Sweden is one of the best table tennis countries in Europe,” the former Malta Table Tennis Klabb (MTTK) player and coach said.
“Around 20 years ago, Sweden were the best in the world, defeating China at the World Championships, more than once.
“Those players who were part of the success then are now coaching the up and coming players now so knowledge within the game is definitely of a high level.”
In addition to this, Gambina explained how Halmstad has arguably the country’s top training centre as well.
“The current Swedish men’s national coach is from halmstad and is usually in the hall here when not on international duty,” he said.
“Without a doubt, the fact that I will be getting coached by people who have experienced such a high standard will only help my game.
“Furthermore there are around four sessions per day that I can pick to join in on and the hall is available practically all week which wasn’t the case in Malta.
“My goal is to improve myself as much as possible and see where that takes me.”
This is not Gambina’s first experience in Sweden, having been there before for some years.
“It’s a big move of course, but I’ve lived in Sweden before so in that sense, it’s not all new either. I can speak the language quite well which will definitely help me integrate into society better and that is mostly thanks to my Swedish girlfriend who I met during my time studying here,” Gambina explained.
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