IT has been some year for Commonwealth Games-bound table tennis prodigy Hannah Silcock.
As well as her selection – at just 14 years old – for Birmingham later this month, she recently became the British Secondary Schools Champion at U18 level.
She was also women’s Channel Island Champion in April, as well as taking both U18 and U15 titles.
Add to that the gold medal Silcock picked up last November for winning the U15 girls title in the Home Nation Championships, and she is starting to build up quite a collection, with a number of doubles titles to her name from the same competitions.
If that’s not enough, she has started to make inroads internationally too. Now ranked 47 in the world at U15 level, she has played in various World Table Tennis events in Spain, France, Austria, Czech Republic and Belgium. And last week she trained with the England junior team in Italy last week in preparation for the European Youths Championships in Belgrade next week.
‘This is the first year I’ve been doing international competitions all throughout Europe, and I’ve done quite well in them. So I’m quite pleased about that, as well going off in different places and competing against some of the best players from each country,’ said Silcock.
‘It’s been quite tiring going from one country to another. But it’s also fun going to different places I never ever thought I would be going to, going out seeing the country as well as playing.
‘Italy last week, playing and getting to train with the top players from England and Italy, which was good because they’re all at a very high level. I did well and got a lot out of it.’
After Belgrade, Silcock is next off to another training camp, this time in Cardiff with the Welsh table tennis team, and then she has another five days camp in Stockholm before she goes to Birmingham.
It means a lot of time has been spent off school but she says she has had nothing but support from the teachers.
‘When I’ve been away I’ve been trying to try to look at books as much as I can, although it’s not always been fun. I’ve always I’ve tried to catch up the most I can and the teachers are very supportive, letting me go off the train and play competition, which was nice of them,’ added the JCG pupil.
‘I’m going to keep playing throughout for the whole of this year and then I might take a break from the competition from January to start revising for my GCSEs. But I’m hoping to pick it up again after and continue training hard.’