An 11-year-old Welsh table tennis prodigy who broke records and caused amazement at the Commonwealth Games met her match on Tuesday when she was ousted from the women’s singles.
Anna Hursey thrashed Uganda’s Halima Nambozo 4-0 but she came unstuck in her second pool match against Malaysia’s Alice Chang Li Sian, who won 11-8, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4.
Despite the defeat, it has been a stunning debut for Hursey, who stands just 1.60 metres (5ft 3in) tall and is thought to be the youngest athlete in Commonwealth Games history.
Hursey, the youngest competitor ever fielded by Wales, also played in the women’s team competition, helping Wales to doubles wins against India and Sri Lanka.
The schoolgirl, whose mother is Chinese and who has training stints in China, is known for her attacking style but Chang, 17, was able to absorb the pressure as well as Hursey’s noisy support from the crowd.
“She has a lot of supporters but I don’t care about the outside (noise), I just play my match,” Chang.
Hursey’s coach Stephen Jenkins praised her composure in the spotlight, saying: “Nothing phases her.”
“She is really relaxed when she plays and just enjoys it really,” Jenkins said.
“Anna herself says to me she is not nervous, which baffles me, because I’m like, ‘Surely you are a little bit nervous?’” he said.
“Anna just thrives off, and feeds off the crowd really,” he added.