Academy teens retain trophy at London Finals
Competition has become ‘game changer’ for youngsters
HAREFIELD Academy pupils took top honours in the boys under-19 category at the Jack Petchey Foundation London Schools’ Table Tennis Team Finals – retaining the trophy won last year.
The awards came at the end of a day of fast and furious action on the tables, with 230 players making up 43 teams from 28 London schools battling it out.
Mitchell Jones, Danny Lewis, Ben Naylor-Smith, Nicholas Li, and Gaurau Aravind, made up the victorious Harefield team.
Coach Eli Baraty has been at the school for seven years.
He said: “We enjoy this competition and there was a good fighting spirit.
“Table tennis is very popular at Harefield and our free tables are used daily and are attracting more students to take up the game.
“Jack Petchey has done wonders for table tennis with free tables and these competitions.”
The Jack Petchey London Schools’ Table Tennis Championships scheme is designed to get more young people interested in playing the sport at school for fun and also to compete.
It involves individual and team competitions open to boys and girls in full-time education.
Sara Sutcliffe, chief executive of Table Tennis England, said: “This competition, the table donation scheme and the support of the Jack Petchey Foundation have seen a step change for table tennis in London Schools. It’s been a real game changer for our sport and has become a highlight of our year.
“It has raised the standard of play in the London region and there has been a growth of interest in the sport in London.”
The project also includes the donation of indoor and outdoor table tennis tables, which is also helping to bring more girls into the sport.
Over the years, 1,000 table tennis tables have been donated to London Schools and 21,000 players have taken part in the competitions.
To become team champions, boys and girls in all the teams fought through regional competitions held during 2014 to compete in the prestigious final.
CHAMPS: Players from Harefield Academy took top honours in the boys under-19 category at the Jack Petchey Foundation London Schools’ Table Tennis Team Finals