Three New Hall School students travelled to Morocco earlier this month to represent England at the ISF World School Summer Games Gymnasiade 2018.
Year 9 pupil Adam Groves and year 12 pupils Alex Groves and Charlie Bischoff are all members of the New Hall School tennis team and travelled to the event with Mark Crick, Head of Tennis.
For the opening ceremony, Alex Groves carried the St George’s cross for England around the track at the Marrakech Grand Stadium. A memorable evening consisted of music, dancing and a bright light show before the 57 countries participating in the World School Summer Games all carried their country’s flag around the stadium in front of the large crowd. This was the first time the Gymnasiade has been held in the continent of Africa and the competition hosted 3,000 participants across 18 sports in Marrakech and Casablanca.
The boys were handed a tough draw and faced difficult ties against Croatia and Ukraine in the first round of singles on the red clay. New Hall’s Adam Groves was one of the youngest competitors in the competition at 14 years old and faced a tricky first round encounter against Ukraine.
After five days of competition, Charlie Bischoff placed 21st in the world, Adam Groves finished 16th and Alex Groves came ninth in the World School Summer Games 2018.
A special mention goes to Alex Groves, who managed to win four out of his five matches in Morocco. He was defeated in the last sixteen by the top seed who went on to win gold for Morocco. Alex was defeated, but took the most games of the champion and was really unlucky to have been drawn against him in the round of sixteen. Alex went on to defeat several world-ranked juniors from China and Taiwan to ensure he finished 9th in the world and put in a fantastic performance on the African clay.
Mark Crick commented: “The boys have gained invaluable experience this past week competing in Morocco and have played extremely well for their country. They acclimatised quickly to the hot weather and slower clay courts. We were unfortunate to receive a challenging draw which saw Alex push the Gymnasiade gold medalist to the limits. Alex was so close to causing an upset against the world ranked junior and has played well for the whole week. The standard was extremely high and I am extremely proud of the boys who finished ninth, 16th and 21st in the world.”