One of Northland's brightest table tennis stars, Takaimaania Ngata-Henare, will be flying the New Zealand flag when she travels to Poland in October for the World Cadet Challenge competition.
It was announced last month that Ngata-Henare, 13, would be one of four girls to travel with another four boys from Oceania to compete at the world under-15 tournament in Cetniewo from October 23-31, organised by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Ngata-Henare's recent results back up her selection as she had earned 11 top three finishes from her last four tournaments in just a month's time.
From August 7-10, Ngata-Henare travelled to Nuku'alofa, Tonga where she played in the ITTF Oceania Junior Championships. The young Northlander earned an impressive three silvers in the under-15 teams division, under-15 girls' doubles and the under-15 girls' individual, as well as a bronze in the under-15 mixed doubles.
Just six days later in Invercargill, Ngata-Henare was competing in the South Island Individual Championships from August 16-18. Her results showed her incredible promise as she won the under-13 girls' singles and doubles, as well as the under-15 girls' singles titles.
Her golds were complemented by a silver in the under-21 women's singles and a third-place finish in the women's open singles, all as a player with much less experience than most in the under-21 and open divisions.
That was followed by the Auckland Open on August 24-25, where Ngata-Henare finished second in the under-18 women's doubles while reaching the semifinal of the under-15 and under-18 girls' singles divisions.
She rounded out a hectic month with a second-place finish in the under-15 girls' singles at the New Zealand secondary school championships in early September, losing to New Zealand's ninth-ranked player of that age.
All of these result have culminated to give her a world ranking of 71 for under-15 girls, and as far as Ngata-Henare was concerned, there was more work to be done.
"[The results] are not too bad but I feel like I can push myself harder to get just a little bit better," she said.
"I've been happy with under-18 games lately and my under-15 games, I've only lost by two points in some games so it's been pretty close."
Before the 13-year-old travelled to Poland, she would have a week of preparation and training in Melbourne from October 16-21. While she was excited at the opportunity of an international competition, Ngata-Henare understood the changes she would need to make to succeed.
"When I'm in Poland I just want to show everybody what I have in store, what I can do and to really show my true gameplay and potential.
"I think I've got a lot of my shots down but just the fact that I might need to be able to last longer in the tournament because it is really long."