Table tennis: English pair gain credit

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The Independent Online
Katy Parker, who, at 12 years, four months and 23 days, is the youngest girl to represent England in the World Championships, made a quick but honourable exit in the preliminary rounds of the mixed doubles at Manchester yesterday.

Parker and her 13-year-old partner, Michael Chan of Weybridge, Surrey, were beaten 21-11, 21-14 by the Ghanian teenagers Eric Amoah, 17, and Hagar Amo, 18, in just under 14 minutes but were certainly not disgraced.

After the match Parker said: "I thought I played my best today. I wasn't nervous and I didn't feel under any pressure. It was a very good experience for me.

"We started a bit slowly but we played a lot better in the second game when we won several points in a row. I really enjoyed it."

Chan, who is ranked 12 in England at under-17 level, agreed. "It was a great experience and when we came back from 3-10 in the second game to 11-13 I thought we had a chance," he said.

Yesterday's match proved that both Parker and Chan have good forehands and good temperaments against far more experienced opponents. Amoah played regularly for Ghana in the men's team event and at six foot had a much longer reach than his diminutive rivals.

The Ghanian pair went away from 9-6 to 19-10 before the opening game and led 10-3 in the second. But back came the English youngsters to 11- 13 before Amoah and Amo then moved on to victory.

China, attempting to repeat their feat of two years ago when they took all seven titles, won the men's team event when they beat France 3-1 in the final. On Tuesday the Chinese women successfully defended their title with a 3-0 victory over North Korea. In the men's third-place play-off, South Korea beat Germany 3-0.

Israel lodged a strongly worded protest yesterday over the refusal by Algeria, Qatar and Iran to play them in the men's team event at the World Championships.

In a letter to the organising committee, Ahron Goldenberg, the manager of the Israeli team, urged that the three countries be banned from future events.

"We demand immediate elimination of [the three] from all forthcoming events... as well as measures and sanctions that it will not be repeated," Goldenberg said in the letter.

The Israeli men were awarded three walkovers in the round-robin event after their opponents had withdrawn and they finished 41st in the team event.