Hampshire Youth Games 2013
Eight boys met in the car park at River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester, on a damp, windy Saturday in June to board the Team Winchester bus to take them to the Hampshire Youth Games. They had been selected to play table tennis for Winchester and were joined by other young athletes going to compete in many different sports including golf, basketball, swimming football, hockey amongst others. All were wearing their distinctive bright orange Winchester T-shirts.
They soon arrived at Aldershot Athletics Stadium where a cold draught was blowing through the stands, but the stadium was soon brought to life by a rousing opening ceremony complete with drummers, dancers and an inspirational speech by judo Olympic Bronze medal winner, Karina Bryant. By the end there was an excited atmosphere of anticipation in the stadium and everyone was in the mood for what lay ahead. With the sun now peeping through the clouds, teams from all over Hampshire (including The New Forest, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Portsmouth and others) mingled together and organised themselves into groups by sport and paraded around the stadium. Then the competition began...
Winchester fielded a talented team of table tennis players all keen to take part in an action packed day, ably led by their coach, David, from South Wonston Table Tennis Club to spur them on. High hopes rested on top seeded player, Sam and second, Liam who were joined also by Harry, Jonny, James H, James S, Matthew and Matt. The boys were divided into groups of three for the first round of the competition so had two matches each, playing to the best of five games. The standard was high and play was fast and furious. Sam and Liam each won both of their matches while James H and Jonny each won one and lost one of theirs. Players were regrouped for the second round according to first round results which led to some very closely fought matches with one win each for Jonny, Sam and Harry. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to see any of the Team Winchester players go through to the final round. Portsmouth dominated the day winning Gold, Silver and Bronze in the boys’ competition!
To finish off the day the boys had fun in the activity area playing outdoor squash, scaling an enormous bouncy slide and making their own smoothies on a specially adapted exercise bike with a food blender powered by the pedals! They returned home to Winchester tired and happy, and keen to keep up the table tennis and do better next time.
By Laura Hanley (parent of member SWTTC)