Samuel Lithgow Youth Centre trio secure top-three finishes at table tennis festival

Camden's David Ismaili won the Under-16 boys' event at the Youth Club Table Tennis Festival

Camden's David Ismaili won the Under-16 boys' event at the Youth Club Table Tennis Festival - Credit: Archant

Three players from Camden’s Samuel Lithgow Youth Centre in Stanhope Street achieved top-three finishes in the second annual Youth Club Table Tennis Festival.

A total of 73 competitors from 12 youth organisations across nine London boroughs took part in the event, which was run by London Youth in partnership with Table Tennis England and the Jack Petchey Foundation and aimed to provide match experience in a friendly and informal competition.

David Ismaili, 14, won the boys’ Under-16 event after overcoming rivals from Haringey and Newham.

He said: “I’ve been playing table tennis at my youth club for a couple of years and also play at my school.

“I started playing older boys and could beat them, so the rivalry made me practise more to get even better to keep beating them.

“I like playing table tennis because it’s fast and you have to learn skills like spinning the ball, but also it can be mentally challenging. One day I’d like to become a professional player.”

Sebastian Vasquez, 11, was the runner-up in the boys’ Under-12 category while 18-year-old Umar Mazunder was third in the Under-19 section.

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Vasquez, who took on players from Lewisham, said: “I’ve only been playing for 10 months and this was my first competition.

“I started playing at my youth club and practise a lot. This was fun but the final was difficult. As it was my first time playing other people I’m happy and want to keep playing.”

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