Gabriela Lee, a Year 10 pupil from King Edward’s Witley, stormed to victory in the Surrey Schools U16 Girls’ Individual Table Tennis Championships on Friday after barely dropping a point. Gabriela’s success in the tournament also qualifies her to compete in the English Schools’ Butterfly Individual Championships National Finals organised by Table Tennis England, due to take place in Wolverhampton later this year.
Her table tennis prowess has not gone unnoticed at county level and although she is only 15, Gabriela has also been selected to represent the Surrey’s U18 Mixed team at the end of the school term, in addition to playing for the Surrey Senior Team (adults) in the Premier County Championships which takes place this Friday in Walsall.
As a boarder at King Edward’s Witley, Gabriela has taken full advantage of the opportunity to play table tennis as an extracurricular activity and is a regular attendee at the School’s Table Tennis Club (which is open to all pupils), where she is coached by Commonwealth Bronze Medallist Janet Spicer, Scotland’s former no1 player for a period of 12-years after competing at a Commonwealth, European and World Championships level. An experienced coach, Janet quickly spotted Gabriela’s clear talent and successfully navigated her pathway to success within the Surrey Schools’ Table Tennis Championships as well as helping her to achieve notoriety playing at a county level outside of the Schools programme.
Commenting on her achievement, Gabriela says, “I’m thrilled to have won last weekend and am looking forward to competing at the Nationals at the beginning of the Summer term. I’m also excited to be playing at a county level, for both the U18 and Senior teams which is something I’m really proud of. I’m grateful to Janet for all the support and encouragement that she has given me and of course to the School, for supporting me and providing such great facilities. Since King Edward’s invested in 6 new table tennis tables last September, I’ve been able to put in even more practice, playing in the boarding house as well as at the Table Tennis club which runs three times a week. I started playing at a relatively late age, but I am passionate about my sport”
Coach, Janet Spicer comments, “I have taken so much pleasure in working with and supporting Gabriela, and helping her to achieve her goal with in the Surrey Schools U16 girls Championships in a short space of time. Gabriella works extremely hard to meet her achievements, I am very proud to be coaching her at King Edward’s.”
Mark Harrison, Director of Co-Curriculum & Leadership at King Edward’s Witley said, “We are extremely proud of Gabriela and all that she has achieved. This is a wonderful example of the benefits of the School’s rich and varied co-curricular programme and the positive impact this can have on a pupil. King Edward’s is committed to providing a wide variety of activities to its boarding pupils and supporting this with access to the very best teaching and training, to ensure that children are afforded every opportunity to develop new skills and reach their full potential.”