Table tennis ace serves up two national titles in one day

Tuesday 16 June 2015

WEB Shayan Siraj at national finals

Shayan Siraj has won his first national title and quickly followed it up with a second when he claimed victory in both singles and doubles for his age group.

Shayan, a Year 9 pupil at The Grammar School at Leeds, faced a marathon day’s play when he competed in the Table Tennis England under 11 to under 14 national championships at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield. Starting with the under 14 boys singles, Shayan progressed from the group stage to play the next three rounds, which all went to five sets.

The final was especially tense, as Shayan came back from 0-2 and 8-10 down, determined not to end as runner-up for the second successive year at these championships. He held on through three very close games, with never more than four points separating the players, to win his first ever national title and deny his opponent, the newly crowned under 13 champion Ethan Walsh, a double victory.

Shayan said: “I’m so relieved – in my last three matches, I was so close to losing them all. I just kept fighting and going for my shots and tried not to think about losing.”

There was a sense of déjà vu in the doubles final, as Shayan and his partner James Smith from Kent went 0-2 down against Harry Dai and Ethan Walsh. Once again, Shayan came back from the brink as he and James rescued the match to win the last three games by a convincing margin and make it Shayan’s second title in one day.

Shayan had qualified for the national championships due to his UK ranking, and was seeded fourth for the competition. He has been playing table tennis since the age of seven, and has represented England in a number of competitions, in singles and with his doubles partner James Smith.

Photo by permission of Andy Chubb

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