Twenty-nine juniors faced off against the Dragon this Sunday as the tournament returned after a month’s hiatus. As ever the tournament was organised by Table Tennis Wales and featured four fiercely contested categories for the under 9s, 11s, 13s and 15s.
The five youngest players at the event made up Sunday’s under 9s category as club member Lucas Perez carried away the top prize from his Dragon debut. Lucas attends the club’s regular Minis session on a Saturday morning and looked to be taking full advantage of his coaching to see off stiff competition from fellow Cardiff player Toby Harwood. Finishing as runner-up, Toby achieved his best ever result in the Dragon as he moved into second from a third place finish in February.
Evan O’Connor later triumphed in the under 11s category, retaining his title after winning the event for the first time during the Dragon’s last outing in February. After winning his category twice on the bounce Evan will next have to test his strength in the under 13s category as competition rules exclude players from any age category that they have already won twice.
Eleven strong players were in the mix for the under 13s title. In the end Grace Clements emerged top of the pile, claiming victory on her first appearance in the Dragon this season. The number of boys entering the competition currently dwarfs the number of girls and although the club is always hopeful that this will change in the future- and Grace’s performance may yet act as an example for others to follow- you’ll have to go back as far as November to find the last time a female player came top of her category. The last player to do so Cardiff’s British League team member Lara Whitton, who progressed from her Dragon victory to recently earn a call-up from Team Wales; so Grace is in good company!
Grace’s title-winning performance in the under 13s pipped club member Tom Lam into second place. Improving on the fifth place finish he won in February, Tom clinched the runner-up spot in only his second Dragon outing. With his older brother Ben making a considerable impact on the top spots of the under 15s category, Cardiff coaches have noticed a growth in confidence among the Lam brothers during their regular 1-on-1 sessions at the club. “They’ve improved quickly in a short space of time and I think that’s down to their attitude and their hard work”, said Coach Patrick Thomas. “They’re getting more confident”, acknowledges Coach Lloyd Gregory, “and they deserve to be. They’re nice young gentlemen who work extremely hard.” Elsewhere in the category Ramal Britton jumped ten places from February to April as the player from the group junior sessions finished third in the category.
In the day’s final set of matches Jacob Young was crowned champion of the under 15s. Although this is his first Dragon title Jacob has been a consistent feature of the top three since his first appearance in December. The older Lam brother Ben meanwhile continued his impressive entry into the competition’s oldest category, holding on to the runner-up spot he won in his first outing in the under 15s during the last event. Club member Sid Mohanty then completed the top three, matching his achievement in January and his highest finish as an under 11 back in October.
If you would like to enter the next Dragon Tournament, which will be held at the club on May 17t,h then follow the link below to download an entry form from the Table Tennis Wales website.