Longfield Academy of Sport student Tom Rayner to compete for the English Schools squad

Longfield Academy

Wednesday, 7th June 2017

Longfield Academy of Sport student Tom Rayner to compete for the English Schools squad

SELECTORS have paid a table tennis player a back-handed compliment after picking him for the national team

SELECTORS have paid a table tennis player the back-handed compliment he was looking for by picking him for the national team.

Longfield Academy of Sport student Tom Rayner will compete for the English Schools squad in an international tournament in Jersey.

The Year 8 Darlington schoolboy will be part of a four-man team competing at the event from June 23 to 25.

Tom, a member of Ormesby Table Tennis Club, Middlesbrough, will play for team and individual honours and has high hopes for success.

“I played 18 months ago for England in France and came 32nd out of 120,” the 13-year-old said. “This time we are hoping for a win as we have a very strong team.”

Tom practises for more than 18 hours a week and competes most weekends. His performance has been hampered recently by a shoulder injury.

“I think my technique was causing a problem so I have been working with my coach Dennis Neale to change it and receiving physio; so I should be fine for Jersey.”

Tom’s father Chris used to play and encouraged Tom to try out table tennis when he was nine-years-old. Ranked 4th in the country for his age and boasting a killer backhand, he now hopes to compete in the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Head teacher Susan Johnson said: “Tom not only inspires our highly successful table tennis team but students throughout the school.

“Playing at an international level and representing your country in a sport is a remarkable achievement showing young people the heights that can be reached with hard work and determination.”