Table tennis starlet Darcie does England Proud on European stage

AN HONOUR TO BE PROUD OF -- 12-year-old Darcie Proud, who represented England at the European Mini Table Tennis Championships in France.
AN HONOUR TO BE PROUD OF -- 12-year-old Darcie Proud, who represented England at the European Mini Table Tennis Championships in France.

Table tennis starlet Darcie Proud lived up to her name when enjoying her first taste of international competition at the European Mini Championships in France.

Twelve-year-old Darcie, who plays for the Blitz Table Tennis Club in Gainsborough, was selected to represent England in Strasbourg after finishing third in the national championships.

And although she couldn’t finish among the medals, the tournament was a valuable learning curve for a youngster who has taken the sport by storm thanks to the hard work, time and effort she puts in every week.

Coach Paul Johnson said “We always knew that it was going to be a tough competition for Darcie. It was her first international, so this time round it was all about getting that experience under her belt.

“All in all, I’m quite pleased with how she played and how she coped with it all. We have sat down and watched the footage from the competition and spoken about what it is that we need to work on.

“Now it is all about getting back in the training hall and working extremely hard on those areas of her game”.

With the competition split into three rounds of group matches before even the knockout stages began, Darcie started off against the best of the best, playing last year’s winner and the European number one from Russia.

She acquitted herself well but was always up against it, losing 3-0 to the strong Russian, who went on to land the tournament again.

Darcie still progressed through to the second and third stages until falling at the final hurdle before the knockout rounds, losing to talented players from the Ukraine and Belgium.

This took her into the consolation event, where she successfully qualified from the last-32 round before coming up against a French girl in the last 16.

After fighting extremely hard and showing terrific grit and determination, Darcie lost 11-8 in the final deciding game. It meant that she finished joint ninth in the consolation singles.

Darcie, who is also involved with the Lincoln City Girls Football Academy, goes to the King Edward VI Academy in Spilsby, where teachers and fellow pupils are extremely proud of her achievements.