Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) student Bertie Kelly has represented England as part of the team competing at the ISF World Schools Gymnasiade in France, also acting as flag bearer during a parade through the town.
Bertie, who won two gold medals at the Association of Colleges’ National Championships earlier this year, was one of four talented table tennis players from across the country selected for the boys’ team. He joined Naphong Boonyaprapa, Olly Cornish and Rhys Davies, with Chris Parker as non-playing captain.
More than 3,600 athletes from 69 countries took part in the eight-day tournament at Deauville, France. The ISF World Schools Gymnasiade is the largest international multi-sports event for 16-18 year old students. The event kicked off with an opening ceremony, including a two-hour parade through the town and a formal greeting at the Centre Internationale de Deauville. Bertie was one of two flag bearers representing England.
The England team won its group, which included Argentina, Uganda, Brazil and India. They triumphed over North Macedonia in the quarter finals, but were beaten by Romania in the semis and France in the third and fourth playoffs. Bertie and the team ended the tournament in fourth place, the highest England has ever reached in the competition.
Former Haygrove student Bertie said
I played in the world school championships that took place in France over eight days. The England boys’ team ended up in fourth place, which is the best they’ve ever done. As well as the match days, there was also a cultural day where we got to go round and talk to everyone from all the competitions and countries. Being part of this event was incredible as I was able to talk to people from all over the world and also play against them.
Team BTC manager Jamie Laird said
At BTC we are so proud of Bertie’s achievements and what another fantastic experience to take part in the International Schools Games held in France. Bertie is part of our scholarship programme at the College and we look forward to continuing to support him for his table tennis alongside his A Level course.