4/3/2018 8:11:06 AM

11-year-old table tennis whiz-kid eyes Games history

11-year-old table tennis whiz-kid eyes Games history

Gold Coast: Eleven-year-old Anna Hursey is set to make Commonwealth Games history this week when the pint-sized Welsh table tennis player hopes to punch above her weight and win a medal.

Hursey, who first picked up a bat at five, will become the youngest athlete to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games and is thought to be the youngest athlete, of any nationality, ever to compete at the quadrennial event.

"She's taking it in her stride really," Welsh coach Stephen Jenkins told AFP.

"She is actually really mature for her age. It's just inside her -- she's mentally strong."

Hursey's team-mates, including Welsh number one Charlotte Carey, have taken her under their wing to help protect her from the glare of publicity.

"They don't want to baby her," insisted Jenkins. "It's more that she's a team-mate, and that's important for Anna as well -- she doesn't want to be the baby. 

"But the girls have been fantastic. Charlotte was in a similar position to Anna once and knows exactly what she's going through."

Standing just 1.60 metres, the Cardiff schoolgirl is a tenacious competitor, having already broken records by appearing at last year's European championships.

"This is on slightly a bigger scale and she knows that," said Jenkins, as Hursey smashed balls past a male opponent in training. 

"But she's not expected to win a medal so it sort of takes the pressure off. I know what she can do when she plays her best -- the future's looking good for her."

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