SIMON Johnson says he packed away his cricket whites a few years ago to give himself a better chance in big table tennis tournaments.
The former West Warrnambool bowler's decision has paid off, with success at multiple tournaments including a chance to represent Australia earlier this year.
Johnson also won the over 40s singles at an International Table Tennis Federation veterans tournament in Townsville last month.
It was the perfect lead-in to national veterans championships which start in Adelaide on Saturday.
"I stopped playing cricket to focus on this a bit more," the 41-year-old, who played more than 300 games for the Panthers, said.
"It was a bit hard with cricket on a Saturday and table tennis tournaments on Sundays.
"You wouldn't want to bowl 20 overs on Saturday and then play a tournament."
Johnson will play teams matches and doubles, mixed doubles and singles at the national championships.
The Midfield Meats accountant, who will travel to South Australia for the competition with partner Rebecca and their 11-month-old son Oscar, wants to add to the three medals he collected at last year's competition in Bendigo.
There he won silver in the teams, silver in the men's over 30s doubles and bronze in the men's over 40s singles.
"I am hoping for something similar," Johnson said.
"In the singles I am the number seven seed so hopefully that will get me to the quarter-finals and who knows from there.
"The third seed (Paul Langley) has been to the Olympics for Australia, so there's top-class players there."
Johnson, who has played the sport "since I could see over the table", said he still enjoyed testing himself at a higher level.
"As I have gotten older I've played more events and it's still quite entertaining," he said.
He said he prided himself on his all-round game, paying respect to both the defensive and attacking components.
"And I've got good reflexes still which helps," Johnson said.
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