Brit's are table toppers

By Danny Caro, July 13, 2011
Zak Zilesnick

Zak Zilesnick

GB table tennis boss Dov Katz spoke of his pride at leading the squad to its greatest ever international success.

Katz's table toppers won nine medals - three gold, three silver and three bronze.

Wonderkid Zak Zilesnick was the star of the show. A clean sweep saw the teenager win singles gold, doubles gold and team gold.

The Junior team won GB's first gold of the Games. The squad - comprising Zak Zilesnick, Jack Josephs, Ben Raine and Zac Mandel - swept the board, winning their semi-finals and final by 3-0 margins.

Katz said: ""I am of course delighted and absolutely overwhelmed by the success of the squad. Let's not underestimate their achievement. Eight years ago we did not win any medals at the Games in Antwerp and there was much work to be done.

"I was then entrusted by the then chair of Maccabi GB, Sandy Kattan (now Riegler) to form a new committee. With the help of our national chair Mel Davidson, Maccabi GB table tennis has been transformed.

"Eight years on we have achieved unprecedented success in that, in these Games, each and every member of the table tennis squad has won a medal.

"We now have for example a European junior singles champion, we are junior team European winners, we have the number two in Europe open doubles pairing, we are the Masters Team silver medalists and the Open Team bronze medalists. It is simply incredible and a tribute to all of those that have helped.

"I would like to thank my co-chair Lee Vandermolen for his invaluable input and my junior team manager, Stephen Gooblar, for his help and support during these Games and engaging the squad and ensuring its success.

"We will be remembered for our fantastic team spirit and the impeccable behaviour of the players on and off the table. We go away with wonderful and lifelong memories and new friends from all over the world. A very big well done to all of Jewish table tennis."

Mandel also took bronze in the Junior singles while Jeremy Banks and Ivan Lewis finished third in the Masters doubles.

Stephen Gooblar, GB's junior table tennis manager, said: "The standard was pretty strong this year and I'm proud of our performance. We couldn't have asked for any better.

"Zak is a class player but are other juniors are not far off. This shows that British table tennis is definitely on the up and the squad is the strongest it has ever been."

Last updated: 12:16pm, July 20 2011