Anna Hursey, who at the age of 16 is one of the youngest athletes competing, took the table tennis world by storm as an 11-year-old, when she featured at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"There were always people asking for interviews," Stephen Jenkins, the former Welsh table tennis player who is now national coach, told BBC Sport. "They wanted to know some bizarre questions. What does she eat? What does she listen to? Everything they wanted to know about this 11-year-old superstar.”
Now, with Birmingham stepping up as hosts this summer, all eyes will be back on the Welsh sports star.
But who is Anna Hursey? And why is she attracting so much attention?
Who is Anna Hursey?
Hursey made her professional tennis debut in 2017 at just ten-years-old, when most young kids would be focused on getting ready to start at secondary school. She competed for Wales in a European Championship qualification match against Kosovo and became the youngest person to ever represent Wales at a senior level in any sport.
She competed for Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia, in doing so becoming the youngest competitor in the Games’ history, and later that year she was nominated for the 2018 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
Hursey has also been ranked the number one Welsh under-15 woman, and number two ranked Welsh woman of any age.
The teenager was born in Carmarthen, Wales and moved to Tianjin, China in 2019 to play table tennis full-time and to live with her mother, who is Chinese. The Covid-19 pandemic meant she had to return to the UK, but she plans to see her mother and family once restrictions ease up.
Climate change activism
As if maintaining a full sports career while taking her GCSEs wasn’t enough, Hursey is also a Young Champion for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has even had US President Joe Biden and the US Embassy get in touch for her input on solving the climate change crisis.
Hursey said: “I’ve been involved for a couple of years (with climate change activism). Last year the US Embassy contacted me to help them with whatever they are doing. That’s because I’ve been a young champion for the UNFCCC.
“I’m not too sure how the UN thing came about. It was a couple of years ago but I think it was to do with my table tennis and I think they might have read somewhere that I have asthma. So I’ve always been interested and very passionate about climate change.
“I had a meeting with (the US Embassy) last year just to talk about what I could possibly do in the future. At the moment I am just focused on Commonwealths and exams and I’m still trying to study and learn about climate change because I’m still young. I’m carbon neutral myself and doing all I can at the moment and hopefully I can be more involved with them in the future.”