England reward Smith's consistency with call-up
CITY table tennis star Vicky Smith has won a call-up to the England team for next month's European Youth Championships in Austria.
Smith's selection to the national girls' line-up for the prestigious championships in her penultimate year as a junior is the teenager's biggest achievement to date.
The 16-year-old Plymothian had seemed set to join the England party after a series of eye-catching performances while on international duty over the past year.
Smith, who plays for Woolwell Table Tennis Club, was British number one junior for three months before dropping down to number three in the rankings recently.
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But Smith's star had been in the ascendance for some time, which she confirmed with impressive displays in the French, Polish and Czech Open tournaments this season.
Smith's potential and match-winning potency was recently realised in the Devonport High School for Girls student winning a gold medal with the South West team at the Schools Championships.
Encouragingly for the teen, the Schools Championships were held at the Excel Centre in east London, where the Olympic table tennis tournament will be staged during this summer's Games.
Smith, who is coached at Woolwell by South West regional coach Paul Whiting, will join her new England team-mates for a training camp at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield ahead of her career-high appearance at the European Youth Championships, which are being held just outside Vienna from July 13-22.
Her dad John Smith said his daughter's call-up was just reward for her improvement combined with consistency.
He said: "It's great news. Vicky is naturally proud and delighted.
"We believed she had a very good chance of being selected, but were not counting our chickens ahead of the official confirmation.
"This is definitely the highlight of her career so far. The family and friends are all thrilled for her."
Whiting will join Smith on the trip to Austria and the 14-strong England squad.