End of an Era at Chelsea Academy
London Academy Summer International TrainingJon Kaufmann – 28th September 2017
After finishing the school year in July 2017, the London Academy Table Tennis Team did not have much of a summer break. In fact, they were training and competing at international scenes in the likes of Europe and the Middle East.
To begin, the team had two weeks of intensive training at their club in London under the eyes of head coaches Bhavin Savjani, Albert Wood and Mehdi Zarafshani. They trained six hours daily, focussing on important technical and physical training. Multi-ball coach Marcia Ma, former Chinese national team player, helped the players to increase their speed and accuracy while high level sparring partners Gabriel Achampong and Sherwin Remata contributed in the improvements of control, consistency and skill.
Thereafter, a team of elite players, with coach Bhavin Savjani, were off to compete in the Ostend masters and Ostend youth cup, held in Belgium. Valerio Bucci and Yacine Boubekeur formed the boys team, and Patricia Ianau and Natalia Ianau formed the girls team representing London Academy. The group of players brought home 13 titles including:
- Junior girls’ singles silver medal (Natalia Ianau) and gold medal (Patricia Ianau)
- Cadet boys’ silver medal (Valerio Bucci) and bronze medal (Yacine Boubekeur)
- Cadet girls’ silver medal (Natalia Ianau) and gold medal (Patricia Ianau)
- Senior doubles silver medals (Natalia Ianau and Patricia Ianau)
- Cadet boys’ team gold medals (Valerio Bucci and Yacine Boubekeur)
Meanwhile, 13-year-old Mihnea Dascalu was in Bistrita, Romania at the national training centre; he trained amongst the high-level national Romanian team for the course of 10 days.
After their success in Belgium, the boys team, along with Mihnea Dascalu and Sajad Ali went to take part in a two-week training programme at one of the top Swedish clubs: Eslöv. The Academy has a partnership with Eslöv, in which players are exchanged to take part in the Swedish and British Leagues. The named players were under the watch of Swedish National coaches Peter Sartz and Peter Andersson, who were very impressed by the hardworking youngsters.
Instead, the girls team travelled to the national training centre in Romania, where they trained seven hours daily with top players from Spain, Switzerland and the Romanian national team.
Hiba Feredj, the top female player at the Academy, competed and excelled in the Arab Cup, held in Oman.
Feredj represented her home country of Algeria and gained a gold medal in the Under 21 women’s doubles event, along with teammate Lynda Loghraibi; the team had a 3-0 victory over Qatar.
In the singles event of the Under 21 women, Feredj achieved a silver medal after a 4-2 loss to Egypt.
After the summer programme had been completed, the players all returned to their home club and began the school training programme in September 2017.
From there, four players were chosen to represent their home countries of Romania, Italy and Algeria in the Croatia Junior and Cadet open.
Natalia and Patricia Ianau (Romania) had reached the quarter final stage of the Cadet girls’ team event, where they were closely beaten by the eventual silver medallists from Korea. Hiba Feredj (Algeria) finished in the top 32 players in the Junior girls’ singles event. Valerio Bucci (Italy) partnered up with an Italian national teammate in the Cadet boys’ team event, where they just missed out on the quarter finals to a team from Slovenia. Patricia Ianau (Romania) finished in the top 16 players of the cadet girls event.
Well done to all the London Academy players and coaches for the hard work and dedication they have showed and we hope to see more results in the future.