Junior National Champion 2021
After almost 16months of no competitions in England, I was able to compete in the England U19 National Championships. After the championships were cancelled in 2020, it was good news when the Junior age category was extended to U19 to reflect the ITTF age group rules. This gave me another chance to win this Junior trophy after being successful in 2018 and coming 2nd in 2019.
I was seeded no 1 and was therefore straight into the knock out rounds. Pandemic meant there were some differences to previous tournaments. Limited people within the playing hall. No shaking hands, ensuring we didn't share towel bins, making sure the ball was only touched by the players and then perhaps the biggest change was playing to best of 5 games rather than 7. This shortened the match to a bit of a sprint.
My general plan for the tournament was to see how each match developed, play the percentage shots when I needed to and then play a bit more freely if the scoreboard allowed. The opponents would be giving it their best so I needed to respect their skills because in a short match it is very easy to get behind and then it can be all over before you settle down.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to play again and it was great to be holding trophy with a gold medal at the end.
This was also the first trophy with my new blade. I am still using a Dynasty Carbon however I have changed the handle from straight to a more flared version.