TABLE TENNIS duo Emma Rhind and Jennie Yang were celebrating last week after clinching the girls’ doubles title at the Scottish Primary Schools’ Championships.
Eleven-year-old Emma, from Stewartfield, also took home a bronze medal in the girls’ singles after beating nine-year-old Eaglesham player Jennie in the third/fourth place playoff match on December 4.
But the ping-pong pair’s highlight of the day was their title triumph in the doubles and both girls’ parents admitted it was a pleasant surprise to see their daughters on the top of the podium.
Jennie’s dad, Ming, told the News: “I’m absolutely delighted for her – it was a totally unexpected victory for her and Emma.
“Her mum was in tears when she won and to reach the semi-finals in the singles was another great achievement as well.
“I was hoping she would make the top four in Scotland by next year, but she is ahead of schedule and we are all so proud of her.
“Jennie herself is over the moon. She was playing better and better as each match went on and she and Emma were brilliant in the doubles.”
Iain Rhind, Emma’s father, added: “I’m really pleased for them both.
“This is Emma’s first national title and this is the first time she and Jennie have played together so it’s a great result.
“Ming and I had them at the Alistair McCoist Complex training hard for three weeks to get them in tune with one another and it has certainly paid off.”
In the doubles’ final Emma and Jennie beat Ayrshire pairing Rebecca Plaistow and Rebecca Melrose by two sets to one, claiming victory 11-7, 10-12, 11-4.
The girls have now qualified to represent Scotland at the British Championships which take place in Largs in April and both parents revealed their interest in the sport encouraged their youngsters to get involved.
Ming, whose son Justin also plays, said: “I play table tennis myself and I’ve loved the game since I was very young.
“I took my son Justin to East Kilbride Tennis Club at an early age and put a table up in the garage. Jennie got involved soon after so we are all keen players now.
“We used to play on the dining table before that and Jennie just loves the game. Sometimes she would be content just hitting the ball back and forth off a wall, she likes it that much.”
Iain added: “I’m a former player and had stopped for a while when I took Emma to the Stewartfield Community Centre for a game one night and she had quite an aptitude for it.
“It all stemmed from there and she helped me get involved in the sport again and I started coaching at a club in Glasgow.
“She now trains three or four times a week and is doing really well. Her club team Glasgow South ‘B’ are top of the under-18 West of Scotland Junior League and she can’t wait for the British Championships next year.
“She qualified for the 2011 championships in Cardiff as the youngest player, but this year she will be an old hand at the age of 11.
“It will be nice to have home support this time and I know both girls are really excited about playing in Largs.”