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Table Tennis star and climate advocate Anna Hursey is ready to light up the Commonwealth Games

EXCLUSIVE: Anna Hursey is only 16 and has worked with the UN and helped President Biden tackle the climate crisis… now the table tennis star is ready to light up the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – just weeks after completing her GCSEs

  • Anna Hursey is the youngest athlete in Commonwealth Games history
  • She competed in table tennis on the Gold Coast in 2018 when she was only 11 years old
  • Now 16, Hursey is determined to ‘try a medal’ for Wales in Birmingham
  • She is also a staunch advocate for climate change and has collaborated with the UN

She competed in the Commonwealth Games, worked with the United Nations and was approached by the White House – all when she was 16. It’s no wonder Anna Hursey is now planning world domination.

“I hope to become number 1 in the world and win the Olympics,” the teenage table tennis sensation from Wales told Sportsmail. “Then maybe one day I’ll go into politics.”

Hursey’s next stop is Birmingham 2022, where she will compete just weeks after completing her GCSE. But even that makes her a relative veteran as she first appeared at the Commonwealth Games at the age of 11.

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Anna Hursey was the youngest athlete in 2018 Commonwealth Games history

Her performance at Gold Coast 2018 made her the youngest athlete in the history of the Games and also the youngest to represent Wales at a high level in any sport. Unsurprisingly, it also sparked a lot of media attention, not that the Cardiff schoolgirl was flabbergasted.

“There were a lot of interviews, but it was pretty cool because I got to have my own bodyguard!” smiles Hursey, who is on a giant poster outside the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham.

“I was very young, but I loved being there and it was a great experience. I don’t know if I’m a completely different person now, but I do know that I’ve matured a lot.’

Such maturity is perhaps why Hursey has been courted by some of the most powerful political bodies in the world. When she was 13, the avid environmentalist was invited to become a United Nations “young champion” on climate change.

Last year, at age 14, Wales’ response to Greta Thunberg was emailed by the US embassy asking her to help her in President Joe Biden’s bid to tackle the climate crisis.

“It was very surprising to get emailed,” says Hursey, whose interest in climate change started because of her struggle with asthma. “They said, ‘We’ve seen everything you do, we really want to be involved with you.’

‘Last year I had a meeting with them in lockdown. We are looking into what I can do for them in the future. Hopefully I can make some speeches.

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Outside of sports, Hursey is passionate about climate change and looks up to Greta Thunberg

“Greta Thunberg has done a lot and she’s very passionate about it and I look up to her. I’m going to continue my studies on climate change and see what I can do.’

In the coming days, however, Hursey will focus on her duties as an athlete and not as an activist as she aims to win a medal for Wales.

On the Gold Coast, she failed to make it out of the singles group stage with one win and one loss. In the team event, Hursey won two of her doubles matches to help Wales reach the quarter-finals, where they lost to hosts Australia.

“The singles will be of a very high standard, but I know that I have improved a lot,” she adds. Wales is a lot stronger in the team this time around. We’re going to try to win a medal. I’m very excited.’

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