Talented Hartlepool table tennis player earns place on England youth development Squad for second successive year

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A talented young table tennis player has the chance to represent England after being chosen for the sport’s national development squad for the second year running.

Fourteen-year-old Joe Cope earned his place on the England Youth Squad for the 2016-17 season after proving himself in a series of physical and technical assessments held over the summer.

The Manor Community Academy pupil will benefit from top coaching and training and is the path to representing England.

Matt Stanforth Table Tennis England’s National Youth Coach said: “This year, we had more applications than before and the standard year-on-year is improving.

“The big emphasis in the squad this year is on developing our fitness and on a close correlation between practice and match-play so we are able to compete more consistently on the international stage and deal with the pressures that come with competing at the top level.”

Joe is one of 13 cadets selected for the 23-strong youth squad.

Joe’s mum Louise Cope said: “To play for England you have to be part of the England squad and go through the process.

“They don’t like the children to become complacent so they have to qualify every year.”

She added: “We have seen big improvements and changes in his game,” she said.

“He has come from 10-6 down in games to win 13-11.”

Joe is aiming to raise £1,000 to be able to compete in international tournaments over the next year.

To donate visit www.inspireastar.org and enter Joe’s name.