Talented Hillingdon duo Darsh Sumaria and Catalin Alcaz will go for gold at the Jack Petchey London Schools’ Individual Table Tennis Competition later this month, after winning their age groups at the West London qualifying tournament.

More than 70 boys and girls from 13 schools competed in four age groups, with their eyes on a place in the finals on April 25th.

Darsh, from St Martin’s Primary School in West Drayton, came out on top in the under-11 boys’ category, while Catalin, who attends Park Academy in Yiewsley, won the under-16 boys’ competition.

Darsh, aged 11, said: “I felt a bit nervous because I was quite surprised to be picked and I knew there were going to be some amazing players here.”

Catalin, 16, said: “I was feeling a bit nervous but looking forward to qualifying again. I qualified two years ago but it was cancelled because of Covid.

“My last match, I wasn’t used to the game style of my opponent and found it a bit difficult, but I managed to go through it and win the match.”

Darsh and Catalin will compete against qualifiers from four other London areas and Essex at the finals.

The Jack Petchey Schools Table Tennis Championships is a partnership between the Jack Petchey Foundation and Table Tennis England to get more young people playing the sport at school for fun and also to compete.

It comprises individual and team competitions which are open to boys and girls in full-time education in London and Essex.

The partnership also includes the donation of indoor and outdoor table tennis tables to schools and youth clubs in London and Essex.

Featured image credit: Stephen Pover