Tom Jarvis and Maria Tsaptsinos have been reflecting on their achievement in winning the respective senior singles titles at the Mark Bates Ltd National Championships.
Tom won the Men’s Singles for the first time, defeating Sam Walker, while Maria overcame Tin-Tin Ho to lift the Women’s Singles trophy for the second time.
Photos by Alan Man – click here to view more from the event on our Flickr page
|00:01||WS Semi Final – Tin-Tin Ho v Denise Payet|
|00:52||MS Semi Final – Sam Walker v Andrew Baggaley|
|01:23||WS Semi Final – Maria Tsaptsinos v Charlotte Bardsley|
|02:02||MS Semi Final – Tom Jarvis v David McBeath|
|03:31||Men’s Para Singles Class 3-5 – Jack Hunter-Spivey v Daniel Bullen|
|04:02||WD Final – Tin-Tin Ho & Maria Tsaptsinos v Charlotte Bardsley & Emily Bolton|
|04:42||Para Men’s Singles Class 6-10 – Ross Wilson v Kim Daybell|
|05:18||MD Final – Sam Walker & Tom Jarvis v Joe Ferguson & Chris Doran|
|06:05||WS Finals – Tin-Tin Ho v Maria Tsaptsinos|
|06:45||MS Final – Sam Walker v Tom Jarvis|
Tom has had a hectic few days since lifting the Guernsey Trophy, having appeared on BBC radio and TV news programmes in the East Midlands.
He also visited his former primary school in Skegness – where he first started playing table tennis – to present an assembly.
He said: “The teacher who started me, Mrs Taylor, is still there and I went back to talk in assembly, sign some autographs and do some photos.
“I’ve had hundreds of phone calls and messages – I’m still replying to them. Tuesday night was the first moment I had to myself, I didn’t think it would be this crazy.”
One of the radio interviews saw Tom on air with his father Dave, who was also in his corner at the Nationals and who has, along with the rest of the family, supported Tom on every step of his journey.
Tom said: “Since the start of my journey, it was all from my dad, which to a certain extent is normal in sport, but I’m very lucky I have proper family backing me more than most have.
“Without my family supporting me, I wouldn’t have been national champion in any sport and that’s huge credit to them.
“Table Tennis England have overseen my journey too. I’ve been in the England youth squad since I was nine and we’ve always had training camps and they’ve taken me to international tournaments since I was younger.
“After my operation (a hip operation in 2020) the National Coach Gavin Evans has overseen everything and got me to a point where I’m at the level to win a national title.
“Without that support, I wouldn’t have done what I did this week, but it’s with huge family support first and foremost.”
Maria has had a slightly quieter few days than Tom but has also had time with her family who have given her so much support on her journey.
Maria said: “I went and surprised my mum at the hospital where she was working, I just knocked on the door and said hello and we had lunch together.
“I was back at work on Tuesday (Maria is a video journalist at News UK) but I’m taking the rest of the week off to relax with the family and see some friends. Then it’s back in the training hall and work on Monday.”
Maria won all three titles – the Mixed Doubles with Sam Walker, then the Women’s Doubles with Tin-Tin Ho, before beating Ho 4-0 in the singles final.
She added: “I hadn’t played a competition in England for three years, so I was nervous and not sleeping the best before the Nationals.
“My expectations were to play my best and and know what I had done in the training hall and what I’m capable of. I wasn’t expecting the outcome of winning all three.
“I was obviously the No 1 seed for both doubles, so I had expectations of winning them. That was the goal I definitely wanted to achieve.
“When I got to the singles final,my dad said anything further was a bonus because that was what I was expected to achieve.
“So I went in wanting to win and giving 100% but I wasn’t the one under pressure to win at that point.”
“I definitely didn’t expect to win 4-0. I stand by the fact that Tin-Tin is a better player than me, but I guess it was my day.
“She asked why I always play so well against her but we know each other’s games and there’s no pressure on me. It happened to be my day and things worked for me. She was maybe a little bit nervous and didn’t feel 100% comfortable and I went in with a clear mind and I just maintained my level and played tactically well.
“I know with the Commonwealth Games coming up, there’s still some things I need to work on and improve but a second National title and winning three golds, I can’t complain.”
Maria has also a story to tell of huge family support, plus help from the performance pathway and from local volunteers.
She said: “Since moving to Nottingham, Kelly (Sibley) has really supported me, the experience of playing in international tournaments from early in my career has helped and I used to have regional coaches too – Alison Broe was there watching this weekend, Aled Howell.
“Brian Halliday was my first coach at Kingfisher (Maria’s club in Reading) and he made me fall in love with the sport and really supported me. He was a volunteer and and I don’t think people always realise how necessary they are in our sport.
“Unfortunately, he’s no longer here to see me win, but I like to think he would be super proud.
“And I’d like to thank especially my dad. He’s sat in my corner and driven me around – and it’s not easy to coach your kids when they are growing up!
“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without that support – those long journeys, sacrificing weekends, the time, energy and money.”
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All-female umpiring team for the Women’s Doubles semi-finals
Six female umpires took charge of the two Women’s Doubles semi-finals, believed to be a first in the event’s history.
They are pictured with Umpire Manager Karen Tonge MBE, who herself will referee the table tennis and para table tennis competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Jo and Jenny were also presented with their International Umpire badges by Karen:
A message from our sponsor, Mark Bates
And of course, there was the Centenary Gala Dinner too
We inducted 10 superstars into the Centenary Hall of Fame:
We revealed our amazing Pride of Table Tennis winners:
We received some wonderful gifts from our international partners: