Wandsworth trio take table tennis to another level

Wimbledon Guardian: Table tennis medalists: Raphael Lawanson, Jessica Monis and Benjamin Smith-Bortley Table tennis medalists: Raphael Lawanson, Jessica Monis and Benjamin Smith-Bortley

A trio of young table tennis talents from Wandsworth took top honours in the south London regional final of the Jack Petchey Foundation London Schools competition.

Jessica Monis, 18, from St. Francis Xavier sixth Form College won the girls U19 category, while Raphael Lawanson, 18, and 17-year-old Benjamin Smith-Bortley, also from the school, claimed first and third place respectively in the boys U19s.

Monis has now been playing for more than seven years, and is proud of the development she has made.

She said: “It’s fun and I want to improve myself. You don’t have to rely on other people to get better. I like this competition because you can see how you progress. It’s not just a hobby, I want to win.”

Thirteen-year-old Zion Boumpoutou from Ernest Bevin College won the boys U13 category having only been playing for a year.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Winner: Zion Boumpoutou from Ernest Bevin College

He considers his coach, Helder Neves, as one of the best in London and said: “I love this game, its techniques and mental power you need to do well. This is a friendly competition and I have met new rivals.”

The competition aims to get more young people playing the sport at school for fun and also competitively.

Jack Petchey CBE, founder of JPF, is passionate about giving London youth’s freedom and opportunity.

He said: “I’ve been a fan of table tennis since my own youth. It’s a fantastic sport for young people to play, and we’re having a good impact on our London youth. ”

Monis, Lawanson, and Boumpoutou will progress to the London School’s singles finals June 21 at University of East London.

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