Most twelve year olds would relish a week-long holiday in Luxembourg over Easter but Shiplake College’s Jamie Liu had a different mission: he was headed to the Institut National des Sports on Rue de Trèves, to attend the Eurotalents Hopes Selection Camp.
Jamie was competing for one of three European boys’ nominations to join the total of 16 boys and 16 girls at the 2016 International Table Tennis Federation World Hopes Week and Challenge in Doha, Qatar on 29 May to 4 June. This year’s challenge will be staged at state-of-the-art Aspire Academy.
Seventeen boys from ten European countries were put through their paces during a week of intensive training and competitions, with the help from Chinese sparring partners and lead coaches from the China Table Tennis College- including former Chinese national coach Li Xiaodong and former World silver medallist in mixed doubles Feng Zhe.
All the participants were assessed against the seven selection criteria set by the European Table Tennis Union, such as speed, timing, anticipation, service and return, and training. Their final hurdle took the form of a full match-play tournament against each other. Jamie Liu will join Simon Belik (CZE, winner of the 2015 Eurominis in France) and Eric Huzsvar (HUN) in Doha. The three selected European girls are Elina Zaharia (ROM), Daria Vasilenka (BLR) and Hana Arapovic (CRO).
Mr James Gaunt, Director of Sport at Shiplake, commented that ’Jamie is a remarkable pupil: he has an outstanding sporting talent which hand in hand with his fantastic attitude are taking him to the top of the Table Tennis Game at such a young age’.