The one guaranteed thing about tournament table tennis is that it never gets easier.
Our second Super Series 1 Star tournament on the 15th of May proved to be even tougher, more competitive, and more enjoyable than our first. Several newcomers staked their claim to be in the top group, providing a stiff challenge for London Academy’s home stars. Eventually, after eight victories over two sessions, Rishaan Sawant became our our second title winner.
Winning the title is no easy task. You have to win your group in the morning to qualify for the championship band (Group 1) in the afternoon. Then you have to take on the winners of every other group if you are going to come out on top.
We had five gold medalists on the day from each of the afternoon groups.
Group 5 can often be a real struggle. Players need to bounce back from a tough morning session and try and establish themselves early on.
On the day no one competitor was able to dominate the group and eventually we had three players tied for first place. However, after a countback of sets, Ruby Gandi Bamidele narrowly beat Donika Aliu to take first place and the gold medal.
Donika’s winning margin over third placed Naomi Adjei was even narrower, showing just how competitive the group was.
Group 4 proved to be slightly uneven on the day. Shriya Nimse and Logan McFarlane improved on their previous showing by qualifying brilliantly for group 4. This meant that they came up against three improving London Academy boys and, as a result, found the going tough.
In the end Hugo took the Gold Medal in Group 4 with a solid win over second placed Nicolas Lavric, and a punishing 5-set win over third placed Korey Samuda.
Group 3 was the most competitive in our previous tournament, but this time the afternoon belonged to Inayah Zasella.
Inayah was in a relentless mood and lost only two sets in the afternoon to take a firm grip on the gold medal. Despite a heavy loss to the winner, Mohamed Radhy proved too consistent for the rest of the group and scored three wins of his own to take the silver.
Group 3’s bronze medal was settled in the final match of the day. A rowdy affair that saw Assil Sarri narrowly outgun Lewis McSween in four tight sets, that could have gone either way.
Group two saw the resumption of a sibling rivalry from our first competition in April. Last time Yacoub had beaten his sister Soraya n his way to taking the title. However this time Soraya got her revenge in a relatively one-sided match.
Neither of them, however, could deal with the rapidly improving Stephan Pop, who topped the group with 4 wins. Soraya took the silver, while newcomer John Paul Cabellon snatched the Bronze in the last match against Yacoub.
On the day Group 1 saw only one surviving player from our first tournament, Zach Sarri. Zach was also the only London Academy player to make the top band. There he was joined by was joined by previous visitor Chloe Kniep and three newcomers: Rishan Sawant, Nam Nguyen, and Sinan Surensoy.
Chloe had managed to move up two entire bands since the first tournament due to an excellent morning session.
On the day however, Rishaan proved to be the best of the best, losing only a single set in the afternoon to second placed Nam. Nam, in turn beat Sinan in three sets early on to ensure that he would take Silver and Sinan took the bronze with an efficient win over Zach, who eventually had to settle for fourth place.
Once again we would like to thank all of our young players and say congratulations to how they represented themselves throughout the day. We hope that this competition will be second of many to come. Watch this space.