Seven players from the Table Tennis England Talent Development Centre (TDC) at Ormesby TTC have travelled to Shenzhen in China for a training camp at the Nanshan Sports Academy.

The players attending are Ruby Chan (11) from Harrogate, Adam Gent (11) from Stockton, Gene McGhee (8) and Lola McGhee (10), both from Middlesbrough, Jasmin Wong (12) from Hull, Thomas Rayner (11) from Darlington and Kieran Wardell (13) from Stockton. Also in attendance are two of the parents. The group is being led by Table Tennis England coach Hong Hong Peebles, the Head Coach of the TDC, in Middlesbrough.

The players are training six days a week, with six hours per day of intensive coaching and match-play against quality players of similar ages. The camp runs from August 1 to August 24.

The training is part of an exchange program which saw three players form the Shenzhen club come over to England in October 2014 to train.

As well as playing table tennis the children have been able to attend an official welcome function with the Academy as well as get a glimpse of Chinese life and culture in a city with 16 million people.

The English players during their boat trip
The English players during their boat trip

Last week on a rest day the group visited the Sea Life Centre and also had a boat trip around the port and islands of Shenzhen, the fourth-largest container port in the world. They are also going to be spectators at the Chinese Super League match in Shenzhen.

Thomas said: “It’s a great experience for all of us and I’m learning the Chinese way of training and their lifestyle and what table tennis means to them. In China table tennis is life-changing. I’m loving my time here and the country.”

Following the intensive training, Ruby, Thomas and Jasmin will go to the European Minis Championships in Strasbourg from August 27 to 31.