Teenage table tennis star can’t wait to carry baton

The Oxford Times: Simon Price "I remember going along to see the Olympic Torch and I never thought I would one day be a batonbearer for the Commonwealth Games" Simon Price "I remember going along to see the Olympic Torch and I never thought I would one day be a batonbearer for the Commonwealth Games"

WHEN the Olympic Torch came to Oxford two years ago, table tennis player Simon Price made sure he joined the crowd to see it pass through the city.

Yesterday he said he was delighted to be taking part in a similar celebration, after being chosen to carry the Queen’s Baton when it arrives in Oxford ahead of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which run from July 23 to August 3.

The 16-year-old pupil at Matthew Arnold School in Cumnor will join Ian Warland, Johnny Pemberton and Juliet Field as Batonbearers in Oxford, and will carry the Baton at the Cutteslowe Summer Festival in Sunnymead Park on Friday, June 6.

Simon, from Henwood, near Abingdon, was nominated as a batonbearer by the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership after he came runner-up in their Young Volunteer of the Year awards. The teenager volunteers as a coach for younger players at the Kidlington Forum Table Tennis Club.

He has been Oxfordshire junior champion twice, and in 2011 he reached the national finals for under-14s.

Two weeks ago, he competed in the national schools’ finals in Doncaster and has helped to promote Ping!, in which people are encouraged to play table tennis in their local parks.

He said: “I remember going along to see the Olympic Torch and I never thought I would one day be a batonbearer for the Commonwealth Games.

“I’ve been playing table tennis since I was about 10 and I would like to progress as a coach. There’s a lot of skill involved and tactics, too.”

Simon lives with mum Klair, 39, and dad Julian, 47.

Mum-of-three Juliet Field, from North Oxford, has been a trustee of the Cutteslowe Community Association for many years, while Ian Warland, 50, from Headington, is an Oxford City Athletic Club coach.

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Johnny Pemberton, 33, from Oxford, is a volunteer with Oxfordshire Mental Health Trust.

On the trail to Glasgow

  • THE Queen’s Baton had visited 63 of 70 Commonwealth nations when it arrived in the UK on May 10.
  • It is touring Northern Ireland and Wales before it arrives in England on May 31.
  • The Queen’s Baton Relay in England is supported with National Lottery funding from Sport England.
  • Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to the games in Glasgow to compete across 17 sports from July 23 to August 3.
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