AARIF LI, who attends Oak Cottage Primary School in Solihull, has qualified to represent Warwickshire at the 47th Butterfly Schools’ Individual Table Tennis Championships National Finals.
Aarif will take on some of the best young players in the country at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton on Saturday, April 2.
He earned his place at the event by battling through the Warwickshire County qualifying stages in the under-11 event which took place earlier this month at Meon Vale Leisure Centre in Stratford.
And Aarif beat fellow Colebridge Tennis Table Club member and training partner Rex Ho in the final, winning 11-7, 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5 in a five-set thriller.
Aarif is currently ranked number one in the under-11 boys age group in England and trains regularly at Colebridge Table Tennis Club in Shirley.
Aarif said: “This is my first National Schools Championships, and I am really looking forward to playing against other people in the under 11 Event. I enjoy playing competitions and look forward to the challenge.”
And Aarif represented the Warwickshire Cadet under-15 team earlier this season, having also played in the National Cadet League and National Junior League for Colebridge.
More than 350 players representing 50 counties will gather for the National Finals, which is the biggest one-day table tennis competition in the country.
Several stars of the sport, including Rio 2016 Olympians Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkall and Sam Walker and Commonwealth Games medallists Tin Tin Ho and Maria Tsaptsinos, competed at the event during their school years.
Competitions are held at under-11, 13, 16 and 19 levels for both boys and girls and all primary and secondary schools are eligible to enter players in the county rounds in order to qualify for the national finals
Following these championships, the English Schools’ Table Tennis Committee will select representative teams to play in the Invitation International to be held in June 2022 with teams from England, Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales all competing.