Brentwood Preparatory School table tennis player Charlie Donald clinched two major titles back-to-back following a thrilling weekend of top notch competition recently.
Charlie scooped the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) U11 national table tennis championship and won in the Jack Petchey Schools’ Under 11 finals.
The IAPS U11 competition was open to table tennis playing pupils from IAPS member schools, of which there are more than 600, across the UK.
After that victory, Charlie went on to gain his second crown – the Jack Petchey Schools’ Under 11 title – with a confident win at the finals held at the University of East London’s SportsDock centre.
Headmaster Jason Whiskerd said: "Charlie has won both the IAPS Nationals for Brentwood School and the Jack Petchey U11 Individual Championship titles.
"This is an amazing achievement and even more notable given that he is still only in Year 5 and should be competing at Under 10 level."
Charlie, who took the Jack Petchey title 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-5) in the final, said afterwards: "I’m really happy, I’ve had a fantastic day.
"I thought I might get to the final but I wasn’t sure about winning it.
"My dad helped me by coaching me and telling me to keep calm, smile and enjoy it."
Charlie started playing table tennis at the age of four or five and was too little to see over the table so his grandad used to stand him up on an old milk crate to play.
He has been the Essex U11s champion since the age of 8 and was last year’s silver medallist in the 2021 England National Championships.
He is currently ranked 4th in U11s by Table Tennis England.
Proud mum, Lindsay, explained how Charlie first took up the sport: "Charlie’s older brother James has Asperger’s Syndrome.
"In order to try and help improve James’s coordination and agility we built James a table tennis room at home.
"Within a year James was a county level player and was competing at table tennis competitions around the country achieving his highest national ranking of 10 in U13s.
"As soon as Charlie was old enough, he picked up a bat and followed in his older brother’s footsteps."
Table tennis is a popular pastime at Brentwood Preparatory School with outdoor table tennis tables proving the focus of activity at break and lunchtime.