WARRNAMBOOL teenager Ben Taylor will swap the books for a table tennis bat when he vies for national glory.
Taylor will represent Victoria at the Australian Junior Table Tennis Championships in Perth next week. The 17-year-old has used the first week of the school holidays to prepare for VCE exams in November.
But study will take a back seat when he leaves Melbourne tomorrow and joins his Victorian teammates in the West Australian capital.
Ben, a part of the three-member under 18B boys' squad, said he hoped to return to Warrnambool with a medal.
"I reckon if we play well enough we can get a medal," he said. "My teammates, they are all from Melbourne. One is ranked seventh in Australia.
"They're all very decent players. I've played against them all during the year."
Ben said a South Korean side, which competes in the Australian titles on invitation, will start red-hot favourite to take out the teams' crown.
But the Warrnambool College student heads west at the top of his game.
He spent Monday and Tuesday training with Australian Paralympic coach Alois Rosario and Warrnambool mentor Trevor McDowell.
"I'm feeling pretty confident about how I can play in Perth," he said.
"I think it's going to be a really good opportunity and it's my last year in juniors.
"I hope to play as well as I can and see how far I can go."
The Perth trip comes on the back of Ben representing Victoria at the Australian senior table tennis championships in Brisbane in July.
He was part of a state squad which claimed a silver medal in the under 21 boys' division.