Maliha Baig, Patricia Ianau and James Smith all repeated their title triumphs from last year at the Jack Petchey Schools’ Table Tennis Finals.
A total of 112 players competed in four age groups – boys and girls – at Brunel University Sport in Uxbridge, with London Academy students winning three of the eight titles (including for sisters Patricia and Natalia Ianau) and Whitgift School pupils two.
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Baig, representing Warren Juniors, successfully defended her Under-11 Girls’ title as she defeated Emily Cheung of Latchmere School 3-0 (11-2, 11-2, 11-2) in the final.
She had earlier beaten Kayleen Hadebe-Prentice of Earls Hall Primary 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-3) in the semi-finals, while Cheung came through 3-1 (11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 13-11) against Annie Williams of Barnes Primary.
The corresponding boys’ event was won by Oliver Maric-Murray of Whitgift, who beat Francesco Bonato of Fox Primary 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-6).
Maric-Murray also won his semi-final in three (11-7, 11-3, 11-4) against Ralph Pattison of Harlowbury Primary, while Bonato defeated Sam Gabriel of Coldfall Primary 3-1 (11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6).
The under-13 winners were Joseph Hunter of Alexandra Park and Yuvathi Kumar of Wallington School for Girls.
Hunter’s final opponent was Adam Palmer of Sutton Grammar and he beat him 3-0 (11-6, 12-10, 11-8). He earlier ended the challenge of last year’s under-11 champion Harry Derecki (Chelsea Academy) in the semi-finals, by a score of 3-1 (11-1, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).
Kumar defeated Halle Toulon of Sacred Heart 3-1 (11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7) in the final, having overcome Olivia Jones 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-4) in the last four. Toulon beat Lucy Adams (Tiffin Girls) 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-4).
The closest final of the day was a real battle between Mihnea Dascalu of London Academy and Nahom Goitom of Ernest Bevin in the under-16 boys’ category.
The winner was Dascalu, but he trailed twice in a match in which three points was the biggest difference between the boys in any game, eventually claiming a 3-2 (8-11, 11-9, 13-15, 14-12, 12-10) victory.
Goitom’s semi-final also went to five sets as he beat Robert Pelc of Cheam High School 3-2 (11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5). Dascalu came through a semi-final against Kamal Annich of Ernest Bevin 3-1 (12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7).
Patricia Ianau made it a London Academy double at that age group as she won the girls’ competition, and it was a 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-8) victory over Gracie Firkins of Tendring Technology College.
In the semi-finals, Ianau overcame Federica Bonato of St Paul’s Girls 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-6), while Firkins’ margin of victory was also 3-0 against Morpeth School’s Yasna Hawbash – 11-7, 12-10, 11-7.
It was a double celebration for the Ianau family as Patricia’s twin sister Natalia won the under-19 title, making up for defeat in the final last year. It was a round-robin event, with Ianau defeating Medha Verma, Mya Sultan and Demi Chante Reid.
Sultan finished second as she took Ianau to four games before losing 3-1 (11-4, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6).
The under-19 boys’ competition was won by James Smith of Whitgift School, who has won several titles down the years.
He was victorious over Valerio Bucci of London Academy 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-7) in the final, having beaten Bucci’s school-mate Yacine Boubekeur in the semi-finals, also 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-3). Bucci edged home in a tense semi-final against Cacherel Mirjah of Burlington Danes Academy, winning it 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 12-10).