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6th in the World!
The Harefield Academy U16 boys Squad of Tyrone Wells, Baiden Thoroughgood, Mitchell Jones, Danny Lewis and Evan Clancy defended their converted National Title for the third year a week before representing England in Sardinia at the World School's Table Tennis Championships. This is a competition which includes selected national school champions from around the world including the mighty Chinese team. Unfortunately, Baiden was unable to travel to Sardinia leaving the challenge of this competition to his four team mates (and Team Manager, Eli Baraty).
Harefield had 4 teams in their group stage including Germany and Poland (both of whom reached the semi-final stage), Italy and Greece. On the first day of competition, Harefield shot of the blocks by beating the host nation, Italy 6-1. In the second match, Harefield faced Greece and again were too strong for their opposition, winning 7-0. A very good first day’s work!
The second day of competition would definitely prove to be a tougher task as the Harefield squad would face Germany who were seeded 3rd in the competition. Unfortunately, the Germans proved to be unbeatable. Then came Poland where at 3-3 in games, Harefield desperately needed Danny Lewis to win. The game was a real ‘nail biter’ but Danny despite facing two match points against him at 8 – 10 and fighting back, eventually lost 10-12. At this point the squad thought that their chances of a quarter final place had gone but being the best 3rd place position from all of the groups, Harefield were allocated the last quarter final place.
The first team that Harefield faced in the quarter finals were the Chinese Taipei team! As you would expect, they were quite good and beat the Harefield squad but it was really good experience for the boys!
Luxembourg were the next opponents. This was another match filled with drama as games were won and lost to reach a 3-3 stage. Again it was up to Danny Lewis to go for the win and this time he made no mistake, overpowering the Luxembourg number 2 player and becoming ‘man of the match’!
At the final hurdle for places Harefield faced Turkey but narrowly lost, claiming 6th position overall.
Harefield (England) should be extremely proud of their efforts in this, their first international team competition. The 6th place for England is the second best position achieved by an English National School's team, since the event began.
This was a fantastic experience for the boys, winning many international matches and gaining new friends from across the globe. As a result of their participation in this event, each member of the squad has gained in confidence and has the motivation to achieve at the highest level within their sport in the not too distant future.
Congratulations to each of the boys and to Eli, their coach.
“It was nice to compete against various other countries in an international competition. We did really well considering in was our first international tournament. Hopefully if we put in the time and effort during training we can qualify for next year’s tournament and finish higher.”
“The tournament was a great success as it was our first international competition. It gave us a good impression of what we should strive to achieve in the future. We rose to various challenges throughout, the main challenge being that we are only 14 years of age playing in an under 17 tournament.”
“I thought it was amazing because it was my first time abroad and our first international tournament. I was nervous at first but towards the end of the tournament I started to feel more confident. It made me feel like I want to train harder to qualify for next year’s tournament. We were the youngest group there, and I felt so proud to represent my country.”
Despite the fact that Evan had less time to prepare than the others as he only knew he was going to Sardinia a week prior to the competition (as he was a late replacement for another student) he wasn’t overly affected as he felt confident and was happy to be going and representing The Harefield Academy at the 2012 ISF World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships.
“Being away from home wasn’t a major problem for me and I was really excited as this was my first international table tennis competition. I found that it was a lot more organised than any other tournament I have participated in.”
Evan has now set himself both short and long term goals so that he can achieve his potential.
Short term goals
Evan wants to improve his “smash shots” and feels that he can improve his world ranking by around 100 places to around the top 200 mark within the next year. To achieve this he wants to train harder and spend more time practising.
Long term goals
By the time he leaves The Harefield Academy, Evan would like to be able to break into the top 100 players and he feels the facilities and level of support given to him by the staff and in particular the table tennis coaches at this Academy will certainly help him to achieve his goals.