Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup
Newcastle United FC youngsters compete in 2011 Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup finals
Premier League football clubs and Fred Perry help 100,000 youngsters play table tennis
8 February, 2011: Four youngsters representing Newcastle United FC competed in the Fred Perry Table Tennis Urban Cup finals at London’s Business Design Centre on Saturday, finishing in 10th position. In an initiative launched by the Premier League and Fred Perry that has seen 100,000 girls and boys aged 11-14 try table tennis over the past three months –wearing their Premier League club kit – the four youngsters had reached the final 80 competitors in the country. The four young Newcastle United supporters who qualified for the Urban Cup finals were Chloe Allen, Lewis Houston, Zara Rodger from Whickham School and Sports College and Shaun Smith from John Spence Community High School.
Premier League 4 Sport Co-ordinator for Newcastle United FC Lisa Bell said “the weekend was a fantastic experience for everyone involved and the standard of table tennis was exceptional, it will be something the kids who represented Newcastle United will remember for a long time”.
Shaun Smith who represented Newcastle United said “This was my first experience of a major tournament and I learnt so much. It was an incredible and enjoyable weekend and I’m grateful to Fred Perry, Premier League 4 Sport, the ETTA and all those who helped to provide this opportunity for me and the rest of the team”.
Alan Hedley, Team Coach, said “Each member of the team competed at local level to win their place in the squad. The finals in London gave them their first experience of competing against players from other parts of the country and I’m proud of their performances”.
The overall winners of the Fred Perry Urban Cup were Manchester United, mirroring their football team’s success on the pitch this season. For the boys’ title, Blackburn Rovers youngsters Jack Ellison and Adam Robinson edged out Manchester United boys Lars Cretier and Hal Dwobeng. In the girls’ division, Portsmouth’s Emma-Leigh Marlow and Jessica Boden were victorious, with Manchester United’s Mia Pemberton and Lamara Hines finishing second. In the overall combined boys and girls table, however, the Manchester United quartet was a class apart and took home the Fred Perry Urban Cup.
The Fred Perry Urban Cup, led by iconic sports fashion label Fred Perry in partnership with the Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) programme, the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) and Sport England’s Sportsmatch initiative, saw all 20 Premier League clubs link with regional table tennis community clubs to encourage and inspire youngsters to get involved in table tennis. Over 100,000 youngsters aged 11-14 across the country were given the chance to try their hand at the sport over the past three months, with four youngsters from each Premier League club – 2 girls and 2 boys – qualifying to represent their team at the Urban Cup finals last Saturday.
Richard Martin, Head of Global Marketing at Fred Perry, said: “The Fred Perry Urban Cup has proven to be an enormous success in previous years, but with the new association with the Premier League now in place we have been able to take the competition to the next level. Engaging over 100,000 youngsters with the scheme this year is an incredible achievement.”
Watching the action unfold and mentoring the youngsters on Saturday was 20 year-old English international table tennis star Darius Knight.
Darius said: “I was amazed at some of the table tennis talent on show on Saturday at the Fred Perry Urban Cup finals. Congratulations to all of the boys and girls who qualified for the finals. It’s great to see so many kids being given the chance to play the sport that I love; if they keep at it they might find themselves playing for England one day too!”