The last champions profile of 2018 features table tennis sensation, Ham Lulu.
Lulu gained an early interest in table tennis through the influence of his older sister Annolyn Lulu who has also won numerous medals for Vanuatu.
Growing up in a football mad country, he naturally played football like his father who founded the Waterfall Football Club on Gaua, which represented Torba province in the recent VFF National Super League.
The youngest child out of six children joined the Amicale junior team alongside famous footballer Alphonse Bongniem.
A switch from the field to the tables came about when older sister Annolyn suggested that he give it a go since there weren’t many boys participating in table tennis.
He then attended his first training session in 2001 with Mr. Mok as his coach.
The Gaua boy then became part of the under 12 national development team. He then wore the national jersey the following year at the 2003 Pacific Games in Fiji.
That is when the Vanuatu boys won their first bronze medal in the team event. The girl’s team which comprised of his sister, also made history by winning the first gold medal for Vanuatu in the sport.
Our history maker then became a permanent member of the Vanuatu national team upon return and continued to train hard for future tournaments.
Being a Lycee Louis Antoine de Bougainville student back then, he then influenced fellow students to take up table tennis. Fellow table tennis stars such as Yoshua Shing and Priscilla Tommy are a few of Lulu’s fellow students.
The 30-year-old has taken part in all Pacific Games since the 2003 games in Fiji.
The table tennis champion won bronze in the 2015 games in PNG in the team event but better days were yet to come.
While participating in regional competitions our star also flew the Vanuatu flag on the world stage at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 in Melbourne, 2010 in New Delhi, 2014 in Glasgow and the recent 2018 games on the Gold Coast.
Apart from playing for Vanuatu, he also had the opportunity to coach Yoshua Shing during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
On the winning side of things, persistency to do better showed some great results when Vanuatu hosted the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in the brand new Korman Stadium.
With the aim for success and putting on a good show for the home fans. Our golden boy won gold in both singles, doubles and the team even. The girls won all the gold medals as well which once again created history for Vanuatu.
After setting the bench mark in last years Mini Games, Ham is now determined to repeat last years success at next year’s pacific Games in Samoa and create history as Vanuatu have never won gold in the men’s team event at any pacific games.
Today working as an advocator for Smash Down Barriers, our bench setter goes around and encourages people living with disabilities through table tennis, to not feel excluded from society.
When asked about the future, our bench setter says he loves table tennis so much and wants to go into coaching the upcoming players of tomorrow. He also wants to see the beautiful game grow nationally and one day see table tennis clubs set up and compete against each other in leagues like football and other well-established sports.