Heathfield boy hopes to play for England
A Heathfield teenager is on his way to fulfilling a dream of playing table tennis for England.
Fraser Kent, age 15, from Punnetts Town, started playing at Broad Oak Table Tennis Club aged just eight. Nicky, his Mother who represented Devon at table tennis in her youth, took him along to a training session and he hasn’t looked back since.
Fraser joined the Weald Table Tennis Club in Cranbrook and later the elite performance squad, based at the Weald under top coach Ken Muhr and has steadily improved. Fraser thrilled his family and friends when he recently became the number one player in Sussex in the under 18 age group.
Nicky Kent said: “Fraser trains very hard – around 12 hours a week and then at weekends we travel to tournaments all over. He is doing really well and it’s amazing for us all to see. Importantly he manages to juggle his school work and sport successfully and is doing really well in both.”
Currently Fraser plays for Sussex Cadets (under 15s) and Sussex Juniors (under 18s), the junior British League Division One (For the Sussex Blades based in Crawley) and he recently qualified for the U15 national tournament where only the top 32 players in the country qualify to play. Kent is now ranked 19 in the country at U15s.
His most recent and major achievement so far was during the inter-regional national finals representing the South East in Wolverhampton where he won the U15 event without losing a game. In the final he defeated the North West’s, Liam Biddy (Cheshire), 11-7, 15-13, 11-9.
This followed the cadet boys’ team event when, playing with Owen Brown (Sussex), Fraser won all of his eight singles, dropping only three games in the process. Partnered by Brown, Kent also won two out of four doubles, the South East finishing third (out of 10 regions) in the event behind Yorkshire and the North West.
Fraser added: “I know that if I continue to train hard, work hard and continue to improve I can make the England selectors take notice of me”
“Fraser’s main challenge now is finding other dedicated players and a venue that he regularly train in as the majority of the Sussex squad are based in West Sussex and with juggling GCSE work and training the traveling time puts a lot of pressure on the family as well as Fraser,” explained Nicky.
Fraser attends Heathfield Community College and is in Year 10. The college provides training facilities after school free of charge.
Fraser also has a mentor – 74 year old former England Champion Ian Harrison who lives locally and trains with him at the college twice a week. Fraser said: “Ian’s knowledge of the game and coaching style is invaluable and without Ian’s and Ken’s coaching and the support of Mike Gadd and the Broad Oak Table Tennis Club where it all began, I never would have achieved so much”
To maintain regular game time Fraser plays locally in both the Hastings and Eastbourne adult senior leagues where in the past 2017/18 season he won 100% of his matches in both leagues.
To maintain playing at a county, regional and national level, travel, kit and tournament costs equate to around £4,000 per year and Fraser is currently looking for sponsors in the Sussex area.