Table tennis: Wykes heads to Beijing to hone Eastern promise
NATWEST Island Games medallist Jordan Wykes will be looking to further his career in rather different surroundings to the Geoff Reed Table Tennis Centre next week when he travels to Beijing for a 14-day training camp.
The 15-year-old, who won men's singles and men's doubles silver at Jersey 2015 last month, flys out to the Chinese capital on Sunday to learn from some of the best that the Far East has to offer, and having developed his game using 'Asian style' techniques there is hope it will provide further strings to an ever-expanding bow.
Wykes, who has been to over 20 camps in Europe and the UK since taking up the sport seven years ago, said: 'I haven't been to one that far away before so hopefully I'll enjoy the training and I can get stuck in.
'There will be three sessions a day lasting a few hours each time and we'll play for 14 days. Then for two of the days we'll see the culture – I'm looking forward to seeing the Great Wall of China and the Olympic Stadium.'
Although the trip will play no part in boosting the Appleby Academy product's national ranking, both he and his father, former Island player Barry, went on to discuss the importance of getting experience away from Jersey.
'Because we live in Jersey it's harder for us to get ranked so I have to go to England to get ranking points,' Wykes junior explained.
'English players play in every ranking tournament but it's harder for me to go to all of them because it gets expensive, so I have a dummy ranking which doesn't show my full potential and I beat kids I'm not meant to on paper. It could affect me in the future, so I've got to just try and keep going away as much as I can.'
Barry Wykes, who says the cost of sending his son away to improve his game is 'substantial', added: 'Jordan's a totally different player to everyone else locally, so he has a job finding people to play with who suit his style, which means he has to go away to camps.
'The main problem is that there's not a great deal of people who appreciate the level you've got to train at and where you've got to go to get it.
He continued: 'We decided when he was seven or eight that we would approach it in a totally different way in terms of his training, and he has been to 23 camps over the last seven years.
'From the beginning I gave him an "Asian block" style, which is all about doing the basic things really well. Jordan's basic game is very strong and he has got quite a unique reverse backhand shot which is based on a Chinese model – I haven't seen anyone else in the UK play it.'
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