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Brighton Table Tennis Club eye future success after World Champs triumph

Brighton Table Tennis Club eye future success after World Champs triumph

Categories: Active Sussex News Club Disability Sport

Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) are targeting future success after celebrating winning five medals at the recent Sports Union of Down Syndrome World Championships. 

Local players Harry Fairchild, Andrew Tonkin and Chris O’Flinn, represented Great Britrain on the world stage in Madeira, Portugal, at the beginning of October. 

Harry, currently ranked No 10. in the world, impressed taking home a hat-trick of bronze medals. This included individually in the singles after a brilliant victory in the quarter-finals against the No 2 seed from France - coming back from 10-3 down in the decider (watch video below) before being beaten in the semi-finals by a strong Argentinian opponent.  

The talented Brighton Table Tennis player also won bronze with partner Joao Soldado Goncalves, the world No 1, from Portugal, in the men's doubles event.  And alongside Andrew and Chris, ranked 28 and 29 in the world, the impressive trio, secured a podium position in the team event despite being  beaten 3-1 by France in the semi-finals. 

Brighton Table Tennis Club co-founder, Tim Holtam expressed his delight with the team's performance. 

"It was an amazing trip and I'm delighted with everyone's performances especially with the team medal. The team now have a great platform to build on and under the guidance of coaches Pedro Santos and Wen Wei Xu. Exciting times are ahead and everyone can all improve and build on this year’s success."

Harry, Andrew and Chris are now back at Brighton Table Tennis Club and are already in training for next year’s European Open taking place in Finland, in July.

The inspirational trio are also the first three Table Tennis coaches in the world with Down Syndrome and each attend Brighton Table Tennis Club up to five times a week where they coach, train and compete.

And their recent World Championship success comes after a memorable summer which saw the recent award-winning documentary, Believe That - starring all three, receive standing ovations at sold out screenings at Duke of York’s Picture House, Brighton. 

Believe That is a short documentary by local filmmaker Caleb Yule. The film follows the journey of Team Santos (Harry, Andrew and Chris), from Brighton Table Tennis Club, as they prepare to represent their country at the European Down’s Syndrome Championships. 

Tim said: "The key message from the film is not to put a limit on what people are capable of. It really goes to show that it is possible to achieve anything if you put your mind to it."

In the documentary coach, Pedro Santos, leads them through a rigorous training regime, challenging our everyday perceptions of people with Trisomy 21 Down’s Syndrome, how they should be treated and what they are capable of.

Santos leads the T21 team with astounding energy, earnestness and patience, acting both kind and demanding to best develop three remarkable players. As a result, coach and player form strong, complex relationships, built upon immense love and mutual respect.

Team Santos have recently been shortlisted as a finalists for the Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Team of the Year Award at the 2018 Sussex Sports Awards.

Brighton Table Tennis Club works with people of all ages, especially young people, to improve health, celebrate diversity and build a strong community.

For more information about Brighton Table Tennis Club and general enquiries please contact, E: info@brightontabletennisclub.com / T: 01273 670 145