All 5 of England’s representatives at London OG on duty in Herning
In exactly one week the table tennis European Championships will take place in Herning, Denmark with all five of England’s representatives at the London 2012 Olympic Games taking part. World number 85 Paul DRINKHALL will lead the English attack on Europe
In exactly one week the table tennis European Championships will take place in Herning, Denmark with all five of England’s representatives at the London 2012 Olympic Games taking part. World number 85 Paul DRINKHALL will lead the English attack on Europe as the 32nd seed for the competition, which runs from 17-21st October.
The 22-year-old’s previous best was a last 32 finish in St. Petersburg, Russia 2009, but after competing at both the Olympic Games and LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup recently, he has re-found his best form to once again enter the world’s top 100 ahead of the competition.
However, last year the four-times National Champion was overshadowed by the incredible efforts of the then 18-year-old world number 269, Liam PITCHFORD, who beat both Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR, WR 9) and Alexey SMIRNOV (RUS, WR 20) in Sopot-Gdansk, Poland in 2011.
“I had a good tournament last year so it is obviously going to be difficult to match those results this year but I’m confident and I believe I can do it so we will see. To be honest I haven’t been in the greatest form recently and I haven’t played many matches so my confidence has been a bit low, but I played a tournament this week to get some match practice for the Euros and I felt pretty good so that has boosted my confidence,”said Liam PITCHFORD PITCHFORD will hope to replicate that form once more after also competing at both the Olympic Games and Liebherr Men’s World Cup alongside DRINKHALL in London and Liverpool respectively. Fellow Olympian Andrew BAGGALEY will also compete in Denmark alongside Daniel REED and Darius KNIGHT who make up the male quintet that the English Table Tennis Association have sent.
“It would be a good achievement for me if I could get to the last 16 in the singles. I have been in the top 100 for a few months, I feel more confident in my game and if I play free then I can beat anybody, so why put pressure on myself? Liam had a great tournament in Poland, and I didn’t play very well, however I hope this time we can both play to our best, it is not a competition between us, however we are there to help each other play well and to push each other!”, said Paul DRINKHALL.
In 2011 the England Women’s team secured promotion to the top division of European competition. Although this year there is no team event (it is held biennially) the girls will hope to impress once more. England’s Olympic duo of Joanna PARKER and Kelly SIBLEY are this time joined by 14-year-old TIN-Tin Ho, the European Cadet number 5 from Paddington, London.
Last season Tin-Tin beat the Cadet World Number 1 while also winning twice on the ITTF circuit in Portugal and France. A bronze medal at the European Youth Championships in July saw her selected for the European team to play at the World Cadet Challenge in Guam (27th Oct – 4th Nov).
TIN-Tin Ho added: “I just want to do as well and learn as much as I can. Hopefully win as many as I can. Yes, as it is also a European Championships but for my age group. I will have to try my very best at making sure all my shots are good quality. Also, just relax when I play and enjoy it. Samara is one of the best players I had ever played, I got an idea of the shots I had never experienced before so now I know what the matches may be like in Denmark. The Europeans and the pre-European camp in Sheffield will both be great ways of preparation for the Cadet Challenge as I will be training and playing against seniors instead of cadets. There is also a training camp before the Cadet Challenge so I will be able to prepare then as well.”
Full England Squad - Men: Paul DRINKHALL (Age 22, WR 85), Andrew BAGGALEY (29, 136), Liam PITCHFORD (19, 137), Daniel REED (22, 229), Darius Knight (22, 256). Women: Joanna PARKER (25, 117), Kelly SIBLEY (24, 181), TIN-Tin Ho (14, 434)
(courtesy of ETTA)
Photo: Joanna PARKER (Photo Roscher)