The battle for glory in this year’s Commonwealth Games will begin any moment from now. It will feature athletes who are regulars with loads of experience behind them as well as new comers who despite their limited exposure will be hoping
to take the event by storm and possibly spring a surprise. What it means is that regulars with their wealth of experience must be on their guard or be edged out of the Podium. Among those who will be hoping to turn spring a surprise is 11 year old Table Tennis prodigy Anna Hursey.she is a 5ft 3in table tennis phenomenon who will represent Wales at the in Australia.
she is heading to the Games with fantastic resume despite her age. she is European No 1 for her age, world No 18 for Under 15s, best in Britain at Under 18s and Wales’s youngest ever senior international in any sport.
‘Sometimes the older girls get really annoyed when they lose to me and they kick the barriers and stuff,’ she says with a little giggle.
she is tipped as one of the athletes that will arrest attention in GoldCoast being the Games youngest ever competitors and the youngest to represent Wales.Hursey took up the sport aged five, and won a match at last year’s European championships.
If she eventually wins in Australia, she will definitely have her story re-written beginning from where and how it all started in china expectedly where her mother Phoebe is from and it is where she took her daughter on holiday aged five. Hursey had picked up a bat for the first time a few months earlier and while in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, her mother brought her to a local coach for a session.
‘It wasn’t anything we had planned on that occasion,’ says her father, Lawrence, an Englishman who works in the criminal justice system in Cardiff and had dabbled in table tennis as a club player.
‘What became apparent was that she had some technique. When she came back she went to her local club and one of the national coaches spotted her and asked if she could join the Welsh set-up. That was at five. From there it really snowballed very fast.’
Within a year, Hursey was Welsh under 11s champion and her family relocated their home from Swansea to Cardiff to be nearer to a table tennis club that allowed her to train more often. Hursey was only six when her parents made the call to back her talent with a move and that decision is paying off and set to take her to the next level.