Zilesnick, 12, grabs two national titles
TALENTED Zak Zilesnick scooped two gold medals at the National Championships in Norwich earlier this month. The University College School pupil dominated the under-12 and under-13 singles finals of the prestigious competition.
By Jonny Weeks
TALENTED Zak Zilesnick scooped two gold medals at the National Championships in Norwich earlier this month.
The University College School pupil dominated the under-12 and under-13 singles finals of the prestigious competition.
Zilesnick, who turned 12 this year, began by whitewashing Harry Lumb 3-0 in the under-13s singles final.
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He then partnered Connor Neenan in the under-12 doubles and the pair had a great chance to win gold when they reached match point at 10-8.
Unfortunately, they eventually lost out 12-10.
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Zilesnick, however, recovered swiftly from the disappointment to beat Sam Walker 3-2 in the under-12 singles final.
"It feels amazing to know that I'm the best in the country," Zilesnick told Wood&Vale Sport.
"This is the most important tournament in England and I have won two categories. These are definitely my biggest wins in table tennis so far."
Zilesnick first picked up a table tennis bat while on holiday in Croatia three years ago. He later joined The London Progress Table Tennis Club where his talent was spotted and groomed by coach Eli Boraty, who has encouraged him to practice for 12 hours a week.
Zilesnick went on to represent England at the European Tournament in the under-11s and recently competed at the Cadet Six Nations where he helped the team to third overall.
His ability is so natural he has been selected for the British Olympic Talent Team where he is one of the youngest players working towards the 2012 Olympics. And he isn't fazed by suggestions that he could one day break into the world's top 15.
He says he believes it is possible "with the correct attitude".