Academy’s re­gional dou­ble

Young hot­shots win gold medals in U13 and U16 cat­e­gories

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

HOT­SHOT ta­ble ten­nis play­ers from Hilling­don were among those to take top hon­ours in the west Lon­don re­gional fi­nal of the Jack Petchey Foun­da­tion Lon­don Schools Sin­gles com­pe­ti­tion.

The event, which was held at Crest Academy Neas­don ear­lier this month, brought to­gether 41 stu­dents from six schools from Brent, Eal­ing, Ham­mer­smith & Ful­ham, Har­row, Hilling­don and Houn­slow.

Hilling­don’s Danielle Kelly, 13, was vic­to­ri­ous in the girls U13 cat­e­gory to fol­low in her father’s foot­steps in giv­ing the bor­ough their first taste of that win­ning feel­ing on a mem­o­rable day.

Danielle, from Hare­field Academy, has been play­ing ta­ble ten­nis for four years and was in­spired by watch­ing the sport on TV dur­ing the 2012 Olympics.

Her dad, Chris, was a Wales cham­pion and played in a range of World Cham­pi­onships.

She said: “I en­joyed this com­pe­ti­tion and you get to play new peo­ple. I am glad I did well and am look­ing for­ward to the fi­nal.”

Danielle is a real force to be reck­oned with as she is in the Eng­land Youth Squad. She has also played abroad and trains daily for sev­eral hours.

Fel­low stu­dent Gau­rav Aravind, 15, also from Hilling­don’s Hare­field Academy, won the boys U16 cat­e­gory.

Aravind, who has been play­ing for two years, added: “I like the sport be­cause it en­gages me and I like the way it’s played com­pet­i­tively. This was a good com­pe­ti­tion and play­ing against oth­ers who I train with re­ally pushed my bound­aries. Last year I didn’t do very well in this com­pe­ti­tion so I am re­ally glad I got through this time.”

The Jack Petchey com­pe­ti­tion is a pres­ti­gious event which in­cludes team and in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tions all aimed at in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion and aware­ness of ta­ble ten­nis in schools in Lon­don and Es­sex.

Win­ners of the re­gional com­pe­ti­tions progress to the Jack Petchey Lon­don School’s Team fi­nals be­ing held on June 11 at Brunel Univer­sity.

The pro­ject also in­cludes the do­na­tion of in­door and out­door ta­ble ten­nis ta­bles, which is help­ing to in­crease in­ter­est in the sport.

As the pro­ject moves into its fifth year, 1,365 in­door and out­door ta­ble ten­nis ta­bles have been do­nated to schools in Lon­don and Es­sex and more than 21,000 play­ers have taken part in the com­pe­ti­tions.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the scheme, visit www. lon­don­school­stableten­nis.co.uk.

Gau­rav Aravind and Danielle Kelly

n WIN­NERS:

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