Thursday 15 March 2012
Wigan Athletic's young table tennis stars reversed their football club's defeat against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League to clinch the title of Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup 2011 champions.
The Latics youngsters - girls Annebelle Rowlands and Hannah Burrow and boys Ross Byron and Michael O'Donnell - finished the day with 24 points to Arsenal's 22 points, with Hull City in third place on 20 points.
In the boys' division, Arsenal were victorious over runners-up Aston Villa and Blackburn in third, while Portsmouth won the girls' division ahead of Manchester City and Norwich City.
The Fred Perry Urban Cup, an initiative partnered by the Premier League, Fred Perry and the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA), gives 120,000 kids aged 11-14 across urban areas of the country the chance to try out table tennis for the first time as well as an opportunity to represent their local Barclays Premier League club.
"There was some great table tennis talent at the Fred Perry Urban Cup finals"
- Darius Knight
The programme sees each of 20 Premier League clubs linking with a local table tennis community club, known as a "hub club".
Each hub club is then linked to up to four "satellite clubs" offering table tennis to young people from their communities, giving them an opportunity to play high-quality sport.
The Urban Cup finals in London on Saturday 3 December saw the top 100 kids representing every Premier League club battle it out for the 2011 title.
Darius Knight, GB table tennis star and Fred Perry Urban Cup ambassador, was on hand to support the finalists and inspire the next generation of table tennis stars.
He said: "There was some great table tennis talent at the Fred Perry Urban Cup finals, I definitely spotted some stars of the future and it is through initiatives like this that we will see more and more youngsters taking up the sport.
"Congratulations to everyone taking part in today's finals and well done to the tournament's winner Wigan Athletic."
Richard Martin, Director of Marketing at Fred Perry, added: "This year's Urban Cup was bigger and better than ever and Fred Perry is extremely proud to have partnered with the Premier League and ETTA to give so many kids the opportunity to play table tennis.
"Congratulations go to overall winners Wigan Athletic on a very impressive team performance.
"Fred Perry himself was table tennis world champion in 1929 so we are really excited to see the popularity of the sport continuing to grow and look forward to the next edition of the Urban Cup."