Teenage table tennis ace Tom Jarvis beat a string of higher ranked players, including the number eight seed, as he reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural European Under-21 Championships.
The 17-year-old, from Skegness, who now trains full-time in Sweden, was ranked 36th of the 53 players who qualified to compete in Sochi, Russia.
He started with a 4-1 defeat to number nine Martin Allegro of Belgium but qualified for the second stage thanks to a 4-0 win over Turkey’s Ibrahim Gunduz, ranked 32.
A 4-1 victory over Tomasz Kotowski of Poland (no 37) and a 4-2 win against number 19 ranked Tobias Rasmussen of Denmark in the next group stage meant Jarvis qualified for the last 16, despite a 4-0 defeat to the top seed, Anton Kallberg of Sweden.
He then enjoyed one of his best career victories by sinking eighth seed Tomas Polansky of the Czech Republic 4-2 (12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8) to move to within one win of a bronze medal, awarded to both losing semi-finalists.
However, his run came to an end in the quarters, as Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, ranked 23, overcame him 4-1 (11-3, 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9).
Jarvis said he was ‘extremely happy’ with his tournament, adding: “Almost every player I played was ranked higher than me so any win was good and I managed to carry on my form throughout the whole tournament.
“Getting past the round of 16 was a big one for me, it was a really tight match with Polansky. This tournament has given me a lot of confidence and shown what I can do when I’m playing well. It shows that if I keep working my results can keep improving and I can go a long way.”
Jarvis and his partner Helshan Weerasinghe also reached the last eight in the doubles.Seeded 19th, they defeated 10th-ranked Diogo Chen of Portugal and Aliaksandr Khanin (Belarus) 3-0 (12-10, 11-2, 11-6) in the first round and eighth-seeded Danish pair Rasmussen and Claus Nielsen 3-2 (10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6) in the last 16.
They were beaten by second seeds and eventual silver medallists Tomislav Pucar of Croatia and Bence Majoros of Hungary in the last eight, 3-2 (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-3).