Closed Championships 2013

Match point!

Gabriel does good

Teenager Gabriel Achampong brushed aside all opposition as he added the prestigious Wembley & Harrow title to his list of trophies at the League's Closed Championships last week. Gabriel, just fifteen years of age and occupying 14th place in the national junior rankings, won the Men's singles and Men's doubles titles, at another successful Finals Night at Eastcote in front of a large crowd. Tall and slim, and with remarkable composure and tactical nous for one so young, Gabriel proved impossible to master, having an answer to everything his opponents could challenge him with. His attacking and containing ability on backhand and forehand, added to an impressive consistency, were the cornerstones of his game.

In the singles final, Gabriel defeated Steve Buck in three games, having overcome previous champion Costas Papantoniou in a close semi-final encounter. In the doubles, Gabriel teamed up with Omar Khassal, also from the London Academy school in Edgware as they beat fellow juniors Mitchell Jones and Karim (Omar's brother) Khassal by three games to two.

Yet another junior from the Academy, Hiba Feredj, won the Ladies singles, defeating Sally Prowen in the final. Both Costas and Sally could take consolation, though, from victories in their respective Veterans events.  

The mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Michael Markham, presented the trophies alongside Championships organiser, the League's chairman Tony Dias. In this year's tournament there was a high standard of play and the League is very privileged to have some such good players in its ranks - especially at junior level. In the year after the Olympic Games, table tennis at grass roots level is thriving in many areas.  

Closed Championships scoreboard 

Men's singles

Semi-finals: Gabriel Achampong (London Academy) bt Costas Papantoniou (Apollo) 6-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-7; Steve Buck (Vagabonds) bt James Sprackling (B-BATT) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8

Final: Gabriel bt Steve 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 

Ladies’ singles

Final: Hiba Feredj (London Academy) bt Sally Prowen (Juice)

Men's doubles

Final: Gabriel Achampong and Omar Khassal (London Academy) bt Mitchell Jones (Lowlands) and Karim Khassal (London Academy) 12-10, 7-11, 12-14, 11-8, 11-5

Mixed doubles

Final: Sally Prowen & Radavan Živković (Lowlands) bt Sue Merican (Eastcote) & Laikram Persaud (Greenhouse Champions)  

Veteran Men’s Singles

Final: Costas Papantoniou bt Jojo Senorin (Vagabonds) 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6

Veterans Ladies’ Singles

Final: Sally Prowen bt Sally Bax (Sudbury Hill) 

Intermediate singles

Final: David James (Kenton) bt Nikunj Patel (Apollo) 12-14, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10

Minor singles

Final: Phillip Matthews (Brunel Univ) bt Ben Rolfe (Brunel Univ) 

Junior boys’ singles

Final: Mitchell Jones bt Shane Clark (B-BATT) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6

Cadet boys’ singles

Final: Siddhant Rawal (W&HTTC) bt Kishan Chauhan (W&HTT C) 

Junior girls' singles

Final: Samina Juma (Kenton) bt Ami Shah (Lowlands) 

All pictures by Derek

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