TABLE TENNIS - Rising star Li crowned individual champion at National Finals - The Solihull Observer

TABLE TENNIS - Rising star Li crowned individual champion at National Finals

RISING star Aarif Li, from Solihull, was crowned under-13 boys champion at the Butterfly Schools’ Individual Table Tennis Championships National Finals.

Li, aged 12, attends Tudor Grange Academy Solihull and triumphed in a thrilling five-set final against Pablo Ramirez Rioja at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton.

And Li, who was beaten by the same opponent in last year’s under-11 final, exacted revenge with an 11-4, 10-12, 12-14, 11-5, 12-10 victory to cement his number one ranking in the under-12 boys categroy.

Li said: “I feel proud and amazed, special thanks for all the coaches who helped me through. I feel really excited and trying to finish the final point off.”

The Solihull youngster was seeded second and won his first round, quarter-final and semi-final matches in straight sets.

And Li capped off a fine tournament with victory in the final as both players spurned match point opportunities before Li eventually sealed a 12-10 win in the fifth and deciding set.

More than 350 players representing 50 counties gathered for the National Finals, which is the biggest one-day table tennis competition in the country.

And following the Championships, the English Schools’ Table Tennis Committee will select representative teams to play in the Invitation International to be held in June 2023.

Teams from England, Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales will all compete in the tournament.


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