England will face a double challenge from China at the World Schools’ Table Tennis Championships in Malta next month.

Both the boys’ and girls’ line-ups representing England in the National Selected Team events will face the powerhouse Chinese.

The boys’ squad of Joe Clark and Shayan Siraj (both Grantham College), Joseph Hee (City of London School) and Ethan Walsh (Nobel School, Stevenage), have also been drawn against Slovakia and Turkey.

The girls’ line-up, which comprises Charlotte Bardsley (Heathfield School, Wolverley), Kate Cheer (The College of Richard Collyer, Horsham), Gauri Duhan (Hymers College, Hull) and Jasmin Wong (Ackworth School), will play a round-robin competition.

As well as China, they have group fixtures against Chinese Taipei, Slovakia, India, Turkey and hosts Malta.

In the nominated School Team competitions, England will be represented by Whitgift School from Croydon in the boys’ event and Charles Read Academy (Grantham) in the girls’.

The four boys in the Whitgift team are George Hazell, Jason Kwok, James Smith and Reiss Vydelingum, who have been drawn to face Greece, Israel and India.

The Charles Read squad comprises Danielle Kelly, Mollie Patterson, Darcie Proud and Karrie Rogers and they are in a group with Czech Republic, France and Slovakia.

The Charles Read team (from left) Darcie Proud, Danielle Kelly, Mollie Patterson and Karrie Rogers

Also in the England contingent are umpires Alex Mercer and Lester Smith. Gail Johns is Head of Delegation on behalf of English Schools’ Table Tennis and Table Tennis England.

The non-playing captains are Goran Maric, Suzanne Airey, Sam Perry and Kate Hughes. The delegation, which is supported by Butterfly, is completed by Steve Burge, Simon Beck and Scott Webb.

The competition, run by the International School Sport Federation (ISF), takes place from April 8 to 14 and features team and individual events.

At the previous tournament in Eilat, Israel, two years ago, China and Chinese Taipei dominated the medals, with the England Boys’ Selected Team recording the best-placed finish in fifth.

England were also presented with the Fair Play Award at the end of the competition. Of this year’s England delegation, Duhan and Cheer are the only athletes who also competed in Israel.