Plymouth table tennis starlet Vicky Smith still riding high in the national rankings
PLYMOUTH table tennis starlet Vicky Smith is still riding high in the national ratings, despite her decision to cut her playing time.
The city teenager has binned international appearances and carefully selects her other tournaments in order to concentrate on her school work.
But national ranking tables still show 16-year-old Smith in the top five of the UK's junior rankings.
And the city schoolgirl is an impressive 21st in the UK's senior rankings.
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Her father, John, said Smith's high position in the table tennis charts was due to her success for Woolwell Table Tennis Club in the British League.
Woolwell took on some of the country's top clubs during two league weekends held at Doncaster.
The city club, consisting of Smith, Rachel Trevorrow and Sally Cutler, at first looked like they were going to be relegated when they got off to a slow start.
But they recovered during the second weekend, Woolwell just missing out on promotion.
Smith, at the weekend, was playing in the national championships at Sheffield.
She played in the under-21s competition and the women's singles.
But her father John said he would be surprised if Smith progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
In the women's singles, Smith exited in the first round, but she reached the semi-finals in the under-21s event.
And he practically ruled out a return to international duty for his daughter.
John said: "Vicky's relaxed because a lot of the pressure has been taken off her, there's no plans to get her back into the limelight and she's playing very well.
"She was ill during part of the British League matches and only won five out of 10 games.
"During the second weekend, she won nine out of 10, so they went from nearly being relegated to just missing out on promotion.
"As for the national championships, it's conceivable that she could get to the quarter-finals – there's some players there that she can either beat or lose to.
"She'll have a good time and she'll end up watching the rest of the games if she does go out on the first day."
John reckoned Great Britain would not try to persuade his daughter to return to the international flock.
He said: "When Vicky wrote to them and said she didn't want to be in the squad any more, they said the door was open.
"Who knows? Some time in the future she may go back.
"But Vicky, although she is a good player, is a long way behind the two girls who appeared for Great Britain in the Olympics.
"But she is really enjoying playing, which is the main thing."