Success is no accident.. it´s hard work, perseverance, attitude, planning, and most of all love in all you do…

The ITTF Education & Training Team spoke to Larry Hursey, for a glimpse of Anna´s pathway so far

Anna Hursey working hard for her dreams.. Photo by Claude Sibenaler

Anna began playing table tennis when she was five years old in China before returning to Wales where she joined up the Welsh training program. Hursey explains that “Anna played her first competition at five and not much later, when she was only six she won her first national championship at under 11.”

On the same year her family moved to Cardiff which facilitated Anna´s involvement with the regional training squad, and Cardiff City Table Tennis club.

At seven Anna continued to progress, she won her second Welsh national title at under 11 and played her first international competition for Wales in Barcelona.

“In April 2014, Anna won a silver medal at the International primary schools competition and in the summer, she continued her training in Harbin, China.” Hursey says.

Aged nine, with an improved performance Anna ranked number 1 at under-18 level in Wales. Hursey explains that “Stephen Jenkins, the Welsh national coach, began coaching Anna on a one-to-one basis and, in October 2015, Anna won the Woman Player of the Weekend at the Women’s British League. She went on win the Blaenau Gwent Cadet and Junior Open as well as the Welsh Euro Challenge.”

Back to China

In February 2016, Anna travelled back to Harbin to start school in China for the first time and continue her table tennis training. Five months later Anna returned to Wales and competed within Europe and England.

Success is earned and in September 2016, Anna committed to a 30 hours a week training regime in China. Hursey explains how fortunate Anna was to have trained with the second and third team of the Heilongjiang Province.

2017, a year to remember

Back to Wales in the beginning of 2017, Anna kept focus on progressing and was rewarded with her first international senior appearance at the age of 10. Her hard work paid off: winning her match against Kosovo 3-0. Anna made history by becoming the youngest ever person to represent Wales at senior level in any sport.

Central to high performance table tennis is winning technique. Hursey highlights how Anna developed an aggressive style of play, attacking on both sides, but also being able to control short play, and excelling at chopping. She is presently the Cadet and Junior national champion of Wales, and ranked number 3 in the national senior level.

Winning streak

Securing a place in the 2017 Hopes team was the first sign of Anna´s major improvement in performance.

The last two months continued to evidence growth.. she won the Euro Mini Champs in France and made history again by representing Wales at The European Team Championships in Luxembourg. She became the youngest player ever to play in the European Championships for Wales. Playing in the challenge division, Anna won 4 out of the 6 matches she played.

Hursey underlines that “Anna’s next goal is the Commonwealth Games, to be organised in April 2018”

The season moves on to the 2017 World Cadet Challenge in Suva, Fiji and we look forward to see Anna perform for the 2017 Hopes Team..