11-year-old table tennis star wows at Commonwealth Games
What were you doing when you were an 11-year-old kid?
Playing in the park? Sneaking into movies that you were too young to watch? Or perhaps zoning out in front of cartoons on the TV?
Whatever it was it’s unlikely you were competing in a major international sporting event. So kudos to Welsh table tennis player Anna Hursey who at the age of 11 has been taking the Commonwealth Games, which is being held on Australia’s Gold Coast, by storm.
The youngest athlete at the Games hasn’t been in Australia just there for the ride either, she has showed serious talent.
Hursey helped her nation qualify for the quarterfinals after defeating India on Thursday in the doubles with partner Charlotte Carey — a veritable veteran at the grand old age of 21 — before doing the same again against Sri Lanka on Friday, this time partnering with Chloe Thomas.
What was impressive about Hursey’s performance against Sri Lanka was that it followed defeat in her singles match when she lost in a tie-break.
The 11-year-old was beaten 3-2 by Sri Lanka’s Manikku Badu — 16 years Hursey’s senior — after battling back from being 2-0 down.
After Hursey and Carey combined to beat India, Team Wales table tennis coach Stephen Jenkins said: “Anna was amazing. She was relaxed and focused on what she needed to do and happy to be out in front of the crowd.”
However, in the quarterfinal of the doubles experience told as Australia’s team of Miao Miao and Jian Fang Lay defeated Hursey and Thomas 11-8 11-2 11-2.
A fan of “Pretty Little Liars” and Ariana Grande, Hursey started playing table tennis at the age of 5 on vacation in Harbin, China, where, according to her website, she received one-to-one coaching and began developing her technique.
She has regularly returned to China where her weekly training regime involves 30 hours a week.
By the age of 6, Hursey was the Welsh Under-11 champion and ever since she has steadily accumulated other notable landmarks.
Ranked No. 1 in Britain’s Under-18 age group, Hursey is also the European No. 1 for her age, while she’s in the top 20 for the world Under-15 rankings.
Hursey’s teachers back in Wales can also rest easy — the table tennis prodigy has also been keeping across her school work while she’s been in Australia.
The Commonwealth Games runs until April 15.