It was a stunning achievement for the seven year-old Woodston Primary School pupil who reached the semi-finals against players four years older than her.
Cindy was one of eight players from Archway Table Tennis Club in Peterborough to qualify for the Under 11 and under 13 Championships in Wolverhampton and four of them returned with medals.
Pride of place also went jointly to Laura North (Ravensthorpe Primary Cchool) and Lewis Wu (Coates Primary School) who both battled superbly to win silver medals in the U11 girls and boys singles respectively. In addition to Xiao’s efforts, Amber Lemmon (Hampton Hargate Primary School) also reached the under 11 girls semi-final to claim an excellent bronze medal.
Laura had a superb tournament winning four group matches and a quarter final and semi-final, beating higher ranked players on the way, only to miss out 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 against England number 1 ranked U13 Alyssa Nguyen (Devon) in the final.
In the boys’ event, Wilson Zheng did well to qualify from his group (beating England No. 2 Theo Kneip from Berkshire) only to go down 3-1 in the quarter final to top seed (and England No. 1 U11) Pablo Ramirez Rioja.
Meanwhile, Lewis Wu made steady progress to make it into the final courtesy of two relatively straightforward wins in the knock-out stage against Ryan Goodier and Nishil Shah, showing maturity and court craft beyond his age.
The final, against last year’s’ U10 national champion, Teagan Khazal (London) was a hard fought affair and despite taking the first and fourth sets, and rallying back in the fifth, Wu went down 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11 to the eventual champion.
The event – run over two days – commenced with the U13 singles and doubles. Archway players acquitted themselves well, but as expected did not win medals and only Lewis Wu, Hannah Saunders and Amber Lemmon got out of their respective groups to reach the knock-out stages.
Hannah did however reach the latter stages of the doubles alongside partner Alyssa Nguyen – losing a close match in the semi-finals to the eventual winners.
All eight competitors are part of the Archway HOPES squad for committed and aspiring players. They all qualified for this elite event by right of their high age group England rankings.
HOPES head coach Hong Hong Peebles said: “Overall there were some very good performances and we are of course pleased to win four medals.
"Our squad is very young and we have a lot to learn, but we will go back to the training hall and come back even stronger next year.”
Archway is the premier table tennis club in the Peterborough region. Led by top coaches Gareth Herbert, Dennis Neal, Liu Jiayi, Hong Hong Peebles, Mike Marsden and George Downing, it has five tables permanently set to serve players from beginners to leading playersin the county.
The club can be found at 282 Lincoln Road, Peterborough PE1 2ND. Email: [email protected] Phone: 07399 294606 (club); 07957 132257 (club secretary: Steve Williams).
It’s open from 10am-10pm Monday to Thursday and from 10am-6pm on Friday.