Newmills schoolboy to represent Ulster.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Newmills schoolboy to represent Ulster. thumbnailTom has his eyes on the prize

A KILLYMAN Primary School pupil is all set to represnt Ulster at a table tennis tournament in Hungary.

Tom Irwin is just 11-years-old and has been playing table tennis for two years but such is his ability that he has been selected to represent Ulster at U13 level.

Having trained with the Ulstert development squad for a year and a half and with the Irish performance squad for a year Tom is more than ready to embrace the challenge.

"I started to play as my dad introduced me to the game, I have got quite good but only after I spent a bit of time training. I have made quite a few friends from across Ireland, Craigavon and Lisburn through training," Tom told the Courier.

Dedicating eight hours a week across three nights to training, Tom clearly loves the sport and the many benfits that come with it.

He started playing competitive table tennis in the local Greystone League last season. This season he is playing in Division three of the Belfast & District (B&D) League with his older brother, Daniel (age 13; also part of the Ulster and Irish training programme, but not going to Hungary).

He also competes in Ulster & Irish Ranking competitions, and won the U13 boys event at the Craigavon Open Ulster Ranking Tournament in October.

"Training takes place at St Anne's Church on Tuesday 6.30-9pm and Thursday 7 to 9.30pm. I find it is great way to meet new people, we stay fit by running laps around the hall. I enjoy sports and also play football, tennis and hockey but table tennis is my passion," said Tom.

"I have been really lucky as the sport has already given me many fantastic opportunities, I have been to training camps in Sweden and I can't wait for the tournament in Hungary to go our there get experience playing against the best in the world in my age group and improving as a player.

Ten young people from across the four Provinces are heading to Hungary for the tournament; five in the Under 13 age group and five Under 15s. Five boys in total have been selected from Ulster. The other four Ulster boys play at Ormeau in Belfast.

His club, St Anne's is a small rural club run entirely by enthusiastic volunteers and is always looking for new members.


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