May 182014

Following on from the success of Stroud’s Billy Shilton in top-level table tennis, another Gloucestershire teenager has just been selected to represent his country.

Olly Tyndall, 14, from Quedgeley has been called up to represent England Boys at the under-16s Schools International at Cardiff at the end of next month. He’ll be playing in the team and individual events against other competitors from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

Olly says: “I’m very excited at being selected – it’s a great chance to prove myself, and I’ve trained hard for it.”

He adds: “I love the fast pace of the game, the fast reactions, and when a ball comes at me really hard it’s great to get it back.”

Olly has been playing the sport for four-and-a-half years, first picking up a bat when his grandfather gave him and younger brother Ben a table tennis table for Christmas.

Since then the Severn Vale pupil has shown a real flair for the game, notching up an impressive collection of honours, starting with second place in the 2012 under-12s National Championship, and third place in the under-13s event last year.

This year he won the Gloucester City Men’s Championship at the age of 13, taking the scalp of Darren Griffin, ranked No 6 in England Veterans, in the semi-final. And he’s just competed in the Gloucester County Championships, where he won the under-15s and under-18s trophies, and was runner-up in the Men’s Singles.

To achieve such results is no fluke: Olly trains at least three times a week at Gloucester Table Tennis Club and Filton Academy, as well playing league matches and tournaments all round the country. He’s also attended national squad coaching sessions at Lilleshall and is hoping that a good performance in Cardiff will earn him a regular place in the England squad.

In addition to his first international Olly’s also due to play the under-14s national championships at the end of May. Seeded No 5, he says: “I’ve come second and third so far, losing to the No 1 seed both times, and I’m aiming to get to the semi-finals at least.”

Currently sponsored by Custom Table Tennis for equipment and clothing, Olly has his sights set high: his ambition is to represent England at senior level. Watch out for a report on how he gets on, at the nationals and in Cardiff.

Jane Leigh

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