Academy teens re­tain tro­phy at Lon­don Fi­nals

Com­pe­ti­tion has be­come ‘game changer’ for young­sters

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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