As the summer approaches and the domestic table tennis season draws to a close, we look forward to the next major international tournament – the European Youth Championships (Ostrava, CZE, 12-21st July), which has released its draw for the team events.
England’s younger generation will battle against the best Europe has to offer once more in the search for medals for one of European table tennis’ most prestigious events.
In 2012 the English squad managed to secure a solitary bronze medal through Tin-Tin Ho in the cadet singles and it is the 14-year-old from Paddington who again will lead the charge for top accolades. Medal hope, however, may also come in the form of junior boys’ no. 1 Sam Walker, who has experienced a huge resurgence in the last 12 months, both helping himself to two Commonwealth Championship medals while also securing his first ITTF Junior Circuit title in Malta in April.
The full English squad details are listed below, including the developing trio of Tom Jarvis, Luke Savill and Marcus Giles who continue to push each other for the top places and perhaps could cause a few surprises in the Czech Republic this summer.
It won’t be easy going in Ostrava though as the might of Europe continues to impress throughout the younger generations – two nations in particular, France and Romania are starting to take a stranglehold.
Last year’s Championships were dominated in two halves, the French winning five available golds out of eight for their junior and cadet boys while Romania won four golds in the cadet and junior girls’ competitions. With countries such as Russia, Germany and Poland still providing a real threat, the 2013 European Youth Championships could be one of the closest fought yet. What part will England play?
56th European Youth Championships (12-21st July 2013) Ostrava, Czech Republic
Full England Squad:
Junior Boys Team: Sam Walker, George Downing, Helshan Weerasinghe and Igor Morais
Junior Girls Team: Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos, Lois Peake and Emily Bolton (Tin-Tin and Emily will play in the cadet individual events)
Cadet Girls Team: Letitia McMullan and Denise Payet
Cadet Boys Team: Tom Jarvis, Luke Savill and Marcus Giles.
Coaches: Nick Jarvis, Jia Yi Liu, Alan Cooke, Stephen Gertsen and Craig Bryant