Arsenal’s first-team squad is known to have a number of useful table tennis players amongst them and judging by a group of youngsters that represented the Club in the Fred Perry Urban Cup earlier this month, they are not the only ones.

Four local youngsters took part at the National Finals at the London Business Design Centre in Angel, north London last week, which was the culmination of the nationwide table tennis competition aimed at grassroots level and run in partnership with Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) and the English Table Tennis Association.

The Urban Cup brings together young people from all over the country by giving them the opportunity to play the sport while representing their local Premier League club. The four lucky youngsters who sported Arsenal colours on the day had battled through intra and inter-schools competitions for their right to join the other participants competing in the final showdown.

The boys’ team, consisting of Jay Timms and Romayne Stewart, beat off some excellent competition to win an incredible semi-final against Blackburn Rovers and then in the final, Aston Villa. The boys were undefeated in all of their matches during the day and provided a stiff test for the other teams. On the girls’ side, Duresa Sllamniku and Hollie Cox again did exceptionally well and won three out of their five matches to finish fifth in the final standings. 

Arsenal in the Community also supplied 16 young officials on the day, pooled from local schools St Aloysius College, Highbury Fields Girls and St Mary Magdalene Academy. Despite their lack of officiating practice, each individual showed a clear understanding and confidence and did Arsenal proud. 

Jay Timms, one half of Arsenal’s winning boys team, commented: “I loved the experience. It was really good fun to see other players from different parts of England and what they can do. The hardest match we played was against Blackburn in the Semi-Finals. My opponent was very tall and hit the ball really hard!”

Darius Knight, UK No 3 and Urban Cup Ambassador said: “There was some great table tennis talent at this year’s tournament. I definitely spotted some stars of the future and it is through initiatives like this we will see more and more youngsters taking up the sport. Congratulations to everyone that took part in the finals and well done to the promising kids from Arsenal.”

Arsenal’s Premier League 4 Sport table tennis programme has gone from strength to strength since it started in late 2009. Arsenal in the Community runs satellite clubs in six north London venues during the week and have established a new community club. For more information on Premier League 4 Sport, please contact Ross McKinley on rmckinley@arsenal.co.uk / 0207 704 4147.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Dec 2011