Paul Drinkhall

DOB:               16/01/1990
Height:            1.78m
Weight:            78kg
Status:             Married to wife Joanna, with one son Dougie (and one dog, Millie!)

English National Champion and No.1 – March 2016.

Previous Men’s Senior National champion in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Paul was born in Loftus, a small mining village just outside of Middlesbrough in the North East of England. He enjoyed much success as a youngster, winning numerous national championships at his every level, and at levels above his own age. This success did not go unnoticed, as he was shortlisted for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2005, and finished in second place after Theo Walcott in 2006. He was again shortlisted for this award in 2007. He once again finished in 2nd place in 2007, to Olympic diver Tom Daley.

After winning the coveted European Youth title in both Cadet and Junior age groups, as well as becoming the English Senior No.1 whilst still only 17 years old, Paul became Senior National Champion at the tender age of only 17 years old for the first time in 2007.

In April 2008 Drinkhall signed professionally with the German team TTC Indeland Jülich for the 2008-09 season,having previously played for another German club, Goennern. In December 2008 he was runner-up at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Madrid, losing to Chen Chien-an from Taiwan in the final. In 2010, Paul signed with the Belgian Super Division club Nodo TTC Ekeren.

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi he won a silver medal in the Men’s Team event and a bronze medal in the Mixed Doubles events.

Drinkhall has been National Champion in every age group so far eligible to compete in – Under 10, Under 11, Under 12, Under 14, Under 17, and Senior Men. Paul became the youngest player since Chester Barnes to win the English Senior Men’s title in Sheffield in March 2007 when he overcame the much more experienced former champion Alex Perry from Devon in the 4 – 1 contest.

Drinkhall moved to Italy in September 2011, joining the Sterilgarda club with the intention of raising his performances in the run-up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Paul Drinkhall qualified for the 2012 Olympic games through a host nation place. In the singles event, Paul defeated Kuwait’s Ibrahim Alhasan 4-0 in the preliminary round then beat world ranked 52, Yang Zi from Singapore. In the last 32 stage, Paul lost to Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the eventual Bronze medalist.

In 2012 Paul joined Werder Bremen’s table tennis team and returned to the table tennis Bundesliga after previous spells with Goennern, TTC Indeland Jülich and SV Plüderhausen.

Paul Drinkhall married Joanna Parker, also a professional table tennis player and a multiple English champion, in August 2013.

Drinkhall became only the second English player (after Carl Prean) to win a tournament on the ITTF World Tour Open circuit when he won the Spanish Open in April 2014. This was the first win for a British player in a World Tour singles event in 18 years.

The following month he was part of the England men’s team which clinched promotion to the top level of world table tennis at the World Team Championships in Japan.

In June 2014 it was announced that he would be leaving Werder Bremen and re-joining TTC Nodo for the 2014-15 season in order to obtain more playing time, although Werder said that Drinkhall would continue to train with the German club when he was not playing for Nodo or the English national team.

Drinkhall represented England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, winning a silver medal in the team competition as Singapore took gold in a repeat of the 2010 result. Paul and Joanna Drinkhall subsequently won a gold in the mixed doubles competition, defeating fellow English pairing Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho in the final.

In November 2014, Drinkhall reached the final of the Russian Open, beating several top-25 players along the way, including top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov and third seed Marcos Freitas. His results on the ITTF World Tour meant he qualified for the Grand Finals to be played in Bangkok in December, becoming the first Englishman to compete at the event since 1996. His performances also lifted him to a new career high of No 33 in the ITTF world rankings.

At the inaugural European Games in Baku in June 2015, Drinkhall was seeded 16 and reached the semi-finals, losing to top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov 4-2. He was then beaten in the bronze medal play-off by Lei Kou

In November 2015, Drinkhall won the men’s singles at the Aquece Rio International Tournament – the test event for the Rio Olympics.

In March 2016, Paul was part of the England team, alongside Liam Pitchford and Sam Walker, which won bronze medals at the World Team Championships in Malaysia, England’s first medal at that level since 1983 and the first time a newly-promoted team had earned a podium place at the event.

Key Achievements

  • World Championship 2016 Medallist.
  • Commonwealth Gold & Silver medals, Glasgow 2014.
  • ITTF World Tour Spanish Open Champion 2014.
  • ITTF World Tour Russian Open Runner Up 2014.
  • Sole representative of Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics.
  • 5 time English National Senior Champion
  • Commonwealth Silver & Bronze medals, Delhi 2010.
  • Under 21 ITTF World Tour Champion 2011 – China Open & Poland Open.
  • Olympic Junior Gold Medallist .
  • World Junior Silver Medallist.
  • Junior (Under 18) European Champion 2008.
  • Cadet (Under 15) European Champion 2005.
  • BBC Sports Personality of the year – two years consecutive runner up – Junior category.

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