Smashing shots to Shanghai
Teen table tennis star wins top scholarship
Fourteen-year old Shayan Shiraj, from Bramhope, has been offered a top sports scholarship by Table Tennis England (TTE) after topspinning his way to a bronze in the junior doubles of a national competition.
Former pupil of the Grammar School at Leeds, Shayan now studies at Ackworth School in Pontefract - an independent prep which will no doubt improve his table tennis skills further thanks to 16 hours of outstanding lessons a week from some of the UK’s best coaches.
On 29th April to 1st May, Huddersfield University held the English Junior and Cadet Nationals which saw Shayan and Harry Dai claim victory in the cadet doubles, after narrowly losing to Jonathan McMullam in the cadet singles.
Shayan played with enthusiasm and determination amidst tough competition in the tournament, with the ping pong phenomenon’s father, Waseem, describing him as “a name to watch out for in the future.”
Waseem said: “It all started at the Judean Table Tennis Club in Moor Allerton, where family fun turned into something more significant when Shayan was scouted there at nine-years-old.”
The English Schools Table Tennis Association has since selected Shayan to represent the club in the U16s International in Limerick, Ireland, in June.
Shayan has been chosen to represent England in the Cadet Six Nations Tournament for a three day event in Tours, France, also in early June and a trip to Shanghai is even on the cards for the boy wonder where he’ll complete a four week training camp in July.
“Everybody’s encouraging him. He’s self-driven, self-motivated and Shayan can take it on as a big challenge as he doesn’t seem to feel the pressure,” Waseem added.
“Shayan’s done so much in so little time; representing England at the age of 14 - it’s a dream come true- and his journey has only just begun.”
Shayan wants to go all the way and get a world ranking in the smashing sport.
“If he works hard, I don’t see why he can’t be one of the players in the Olympic Games in Russia,” his father beams.