Fraser Riley with Don & Jill Parker at the World Championships in Budapest

Meet the new voice of table tennis – England’s Fraser Riley

Author:
Rebecca Hughes

Publish date:

England’s Fraser Riley has become the new voice of table tennis, heard by fans all over the world after working as the sole commentator at the European Table Tennis Championships.

The 20-year-old took the microphone for the final three days of the tournament in Nantes, commentating on 35 singles matches across 10 team fixtures – starting with the quarter-final between England and Sweden.

It follows an impressive debut at the World Championships in Budapest where, having approached the ITTF asking for an opportunity, he impressed with his knowledge of the game.

He commentated alongside seasoned commentators Don and Jill Parker at that event, which was broadcast to 175 different countries.

Fraser, who plays at Grantham College Table Tennis Academy, said of his experience at the Europeans: “It was something else. Not only were there so many spectators in the venue during the final three days of the championship, but I was commentating on my own for the first time.

“Surprisingly, I felt next to no nerves, which really allowed me to be myself, and allow my natural passion for the game to come through.

“It’s a humbling thought that millions of people around the world hear my voice.

“I try not to think about the numbers, although it does motivate me to continue watching all the events happening all around the world, so that I am constantly up to date with the latest happenings, and trends of table tennis.

“Hopefully the more I commentate, the more people recognise me. I’d love it if I could help elevate table tennis up to a more popular scale, and be an advocate for young people who might be interested in a similar thing that I’m doing.”

As well as the Worlds and Europeans, Fraser has also commented on two ITTF Challenge events in North Korea and Nigeria.

He said: “The big events are more atmospheric, and it’s lovely to see fans saying nice things about my style of commentating.

“I’ve had a lot of messages from friends and players around England, so I thank everyone who has supported me in any way, whether that’s coaches, or team-mates.

“Travelling the world for free is also a great bonus!”

Fraser’s commentary impressed Don Parker, who said: “I shared quite a few sessions commentating with him, and so did Jill, and we both thoroughly enjoyed working with him.

“He did an excellent job and his knowledge and enthusiasm was first class.

“Here’s someone who wanted to pursue a great interest and who had the initiative to approach the ITTF, and he’s capitalised on the opportunity. It shows the message that you should just go for it.”

Fraser is now hoping to continue his commentary and has his sights set on even bigger competitions.

“I’m hoping that eventually I’ll do the biggest events,” he said.

“The Commonwealth Games would be nice, and the Olympics would be the main goal, but I’ll just take each thing as it comes and weigh up my options.

“I’m starting University at Nottingham this month, so I’ll be commentating part time whilst studying.

“It will go well with the amazing table tennis setup at the University of Nottingham.”

As well as having an English presence in the commentary box, there was also an English presence on court for the Men’s Final – 26-year-old Josh Reynolds was chosen to umpire the match.

To listen to Fraser’s commentary and to see Josh ‘in action’, click to watch Dimitrij Ovtcharov vs Marcos Freitas in the final.

Josh Reynolds in the chair for the men’s final (ITTF picture by Remy Gros)

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