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Morpeth squad return from Olympic trip

PUBLISHED: 13:38 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

Eight table-tennis players from Morpeth School are back in London following a three-week training camp at the Beijing Olympics

Eight table-tennis players from Morpeth School are back in London following a three-week training camp at the Beijing Olympics.

The Morpeth squad of six girls - Sayeeda Anjum Miah, Harriet Taylor, Majada Yasmin, Chantal Wilson, Sally Hoang and Shazmina Yasmin - and boys' duo Rafi Conn-Kowlessar and Ashley Facey Thompson were selected for the trip to China by sponsors Greenhouse TTK, the school sports charity.

The table tennis stars were put through their paces at the National Centre in Beijing by a group of top international coaches and were paired with Chinese training partners, many of whom had begun playing at the age of five.

Leading players from Sweden, the United States, Beligum and Italy were also being coached at the centre, which combined high-quality table tennis lessons with gruelling physical exercises.

The Morpeth squad were also invited to attend the Olympics table tennis tournament, which saw China complete a clean sweep as the host country took all four gold medals to set the seal on their domination of the sport.

"We were thrilled to be coached by top Chinese players in the greatest table tennis country," said Hoang, 14.

"Watching the table tennis at the Olympics was an extraordinary experience. The audience all shouting 'come on' in Chinese was very intimidating for anyone playing against them."

Morpeth coach Grant Solder added that the squad have shown marked improvement after returning from the training camp.

He said: "Once they returned to their routine training schedule at school, it was clear that the players had improved dramatically and had picked up some Chinese techniques.

"We are grateful for this fantastic opportunity funded and organised by our generous sponsors Greenhouse TTK.

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