The European Mini’s Table Tennis Championships proved to be a learning curve for King Edward VI Academy student Darcie Proud as she travelled to France for her first taste of international competition.
The competition, in Strasbourg, was split into three stages of group matches before the knockout stages began, Proud began her campaign against the best of the best, playing last year’s winner and European number one Abraamian, from Russia.
Proud acquitted herself well, but was always up against it, losing 3-0 to the eventual winner. But Proud progressed through to stage two, and then to three before falling at the final hurdle ahead of the knockout rounds to strong Ukrainian and Belgian opponents.
The defeats put her into the consolation event where she progressed through the last 32.
She came up against a French girl in the last 16, but after fighting very hard and showing great determination, Proud lost 11-8 in the final deciding game to finish joint ninth in the consolation singles.
Coach Paul Johnson said: “We always knew that it was going to be a tough competition for Darcie. It was her first international, so this time round it was all about getting that experience under her belt.
“All in all, I’m quite pleased with how she played and how she coped with it all.
“We have sat down and watched the footage from the competition, spoken about what it is that we need to work on and it’s now all about getting back in the training hall and working extremely hard on those areas of her game.”