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Experience: Kayla Goodwin on her first ITTF World Championships

by Kayla Goodwin


Kayla Goodwin at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 15–26, 2024.

Kayla Goodwin representing the USA at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 16–25, 2024. (Photo by ITTF/WTT)

Kayla Goodwin was a member of the USA Women’s Team at the 2024 ITTF World Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan, South Korea. She is 17 years old and a Junior in High School. She primarily trains at Tampa Table Tennis with Daniel Gorak.


The only thing my parents told me before I left was, “don’t lose your passport!” I made it almost all the way there without any issues. I finished my first layover and 16-hour flight to Seoul smoothly. Of course, on my final stop to Busan just an hour away, as boarding started, I had no idea where I had put my passport. It was very stressful, to say the least, I was almost even sent back to the United States. Starting my trip like this made me 100 times more grateful to just be able to compete in the World Team Championships because it was almost taken away so quickly due to my forgetfulness.


Kayla Goodwin at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 15–26, 2024.

Kayla Goodwin (USA) in the group stages of the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 16–25, 2024. (Photo by ITTF/WTT)

I already knew how much this trip meant for my career. It was my first time competing on the women's team instead of junior teams, which is an extremely different experience. It was unreal to see all the top players in the training hall together, especially their unique styles of warm-up and training. Coming in, Coach Gao said for our women's team it was pretty much all of our first times playing on a world stage at this level, so it was normal to be nervous and feel pressure on the court. The first day our team played well against Chile. We lost in the 5th game for the final match (2-3 in matches). A rough team tie to lose but as a team we came together and prepared for the next ties.


Kayla Goodwin at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 15–26, 2024.

USA Women's Kayla Goodwin going against Chinese Taipei's in the group stages of the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 16–25, 2024.

My favorite match of the tournament was against Cheng-I Ching. As soon as I saw that the U.S. would be playing Chinese Taipei, I had my hopes set on playing that tie. I mentioned this to Coach Gao, and she agreed, and I was to play in the match against Chinese Taipei. Even still, there was a chance I wouldn’t play her, but luckily, they put Cheng-I Ching as the third match which lined up with me! I think the main reason I love to play high-level players is to learn why they excel and how they adjust to exploit my weaknesses. First game, I came in super pumped up and was up 10-8, but fell short with a final score of 12-14. I felt super tense, but 2nd game was a trip too. I was up 5-1, mostly because I was pushing heavily to her backhand forcing her to get her attack in. She adjusted her serves to exploit my inconsistency and forced me to attack more. Then she switched to play more defensive and controlled. Watching back, I can see I tensed up as Cheng-I Ching came back and swept me 11-5. The final game wasn’t too close, but overall I am so grateful for this match and couldn’t have asked for more from this tournament.


Kayla Goodwin at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 15–26, 2024.

Kayla Goodwin on the serve while she represents the USA at the ITTF World Teams Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan, South Korea. February 16–25, 2024. (Photo by ITTF/WTT)


Algeria was our team's final tie, we won 3 straight and didn’t drop a single game. Amber Liu, our 5th on the team played amazing considering it was her first match for Worlds. Everyone on our team did well, we each won at least one match, and each gained a lot of experience. With our matches over, the experience overall inspired me and taught me so much. You see how much each player puts into table tennis, from physical training to the hard work on and off the court. Busan was amazing as I had never seen so many people watch a single match, as they filled up stadiums for larger matches. Competing on a world level is my goal and I will work hard to get another opportunity to compete on the Women's team again.

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