Anna Hursey: From 11-year-old sensation to Commonwealth Games medal dreams

It was fitting that a script this unbelievable was played out at the home of so many Hollywood films.

The table tennis venue at the 2018 Commonwealth Games was Oxenford Studios, the set for Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean and, more recently, Elvis.

But four years ago the cameras were trained on an 11-year-old schoolgirl from Cardiff, who was thought to be the youngest competitor in almost a century of Commonwealth Games history.

Anna Hursey had caused a media sensation when Team Wales included her in the roster for Gold Coast, with millions of people watching videos of her on social media and journalists from around the world wanting to tell her story.

This interest continued throughout the Games, with Team Wales and Table Tennis Wales doing their best to protect a player who had only just started secondary school.

"There were always people asking for interviews," recalls Stephen Jenkins, the former Team Wales table tennis player-turned-national coach.

"They wanted to know some bizarre questions. What does she eat? What does she listen to? Everything they wanted to know about this 11-year-old superstar.

"It felt like it was worldwide. I've been on holiday and people have asked me what I do. Then they say, 'Who's that girl Anna Hursey?'"

Hursey had started the sport when she was five and quickly showed her talent.

She had represented Wales internationally by the age of 10. The Commonwealth Games were her first major senior event, and she rose to the challenge.

She helped earn doubles wins over India and Sri Lanka as Wales reached the quarter-finals of the women's team event.

Now, aged 16 and with GCSEs done and dusted this summer, Hursey is ready to push on this time around.

Now, aged 16 and with GCSEs done and dusted this summer, Hursey is ready to push on this time around.

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