TABLE TENNIS: KGGS student Emily brings home the medals from national championships

Emily Bates
Emily Bates
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KESTEVEN and Grantham Girls’ School student Emily Bates enjoyed another successful senior National Table Tennis Championships, bringing home a silver and bronze medal.

Held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, 15-year-old Emily’s first event was the under-21s in which she won her group convincingly.

The quarter-final paired England junior number one Emily with Yolanda King, from Sussex, and after dropping the first set Emily produced some fine play to take the next three sets to pitch her into a semi-final against her England number three Karina Le Ferve.

Emily once again lost a tight first set but then she opened up with a string of powered hitting to take the next three and reach the final against Hannah Hicks, ranked fourth in the country.

The final was very close and the match turned at two sets apiece and nine points all when Hicks made a remarkable return from one of Emily’s forehands. Slightly unsettled, Emily went on to narrowly lose 12-10 and had to setttle for the silver medal for the second time in her young career.

The next day saw Grantham Tornadoes star member Emily play well in both the mixed doubles and the ladies’ doubles, but she went out of both at the quarter-final stages.

The final competition was the English ladies’ singles in which Emily once again produced some outstanding table tennis to reach the last eight.

As fate would have it, her opponent was Hicks again. This time though Emily dominated from the start and took the match 4-0.

The semi-final, recorded by Sky TV, pitched Emily against England ladies’ number one Kelly Sibly.

Emily fought well and took the second set to deuce in front of a large crowd, but succumbed to Kelly’s far greater experience and had to settle for the bronze medal.

Emily will have earned herself ranking points aplenty which could lift her into the top five ranked ladies in the country.

Her next competition is the Schools Nationals at Hinckley next weekend where she will represent KGGS who will aim to take the title for an unprecedented third consecutive year.