DRINKHALL SELECTED FOR TEAM GB
23 May 2012
Paul Drinkhall today established himself once again as Great Britain’s leading table tennis player with the announcement of his selection to be the sole Team GB individual representative for the London 2012 Olympic Games, confirming his dominance of the domestic game for the past six years.
Great Britain’s highest world ranked player and former triple European Youth Champion claimed the place several months after the British Table Tennis Federation announced a specially selected short list in the run up to the games.
The four time Senior National Champion ended any speculation that there might have been regarding the place after his performances in recent months at the English National Table Tennis Championships in March, the European Olympic selection tournament in April and the World Olympic selection tournament In March where he was Great Britain’s leading player throughout – and was extremely close to qualifying outright, losing only narrowly on both occasions after recording wins against higher ranked players throughout.
Paul – who will play in Germany next year in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen – is of course also selected to represent Great Britain in the team event competition at the games this summer, alongside Derbyshire’s Liam Pitchford and Buckinghamshire’s Andrew Baggaley.
Paul commented on his selection: “It’s a great achievement to be selected by the Great Britain team. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in a home games. I can only guess how it will feel but it’s a fantastic opportunity nonetheless. I started playing better in the last six to eight months, including winning the Nationals again, so I’m really excited.
I was slightly disappointed not to qualify by right but it wasn’t meant to be. I’ll keep working hard between now and the Games and since I got the wildcard I want to keep improving and prove I’m good enough to merit my place”.
Paul will now head out to China with his team mates for an intense training period after playing his final match for his Italian team Stalingrada in the Italian premier division final play off, a match in which Paul will play a critical role. Once the match is over, preparation will begin in earnest as he builds towards the games.
Men’s Head Coach Jia Yi Liu said: “This [training camp in China] is good for their concentration, I think it this is good for the players. Everybody will want to take their chance because it is not easy in the Olympic Games. They will want to show people that they can do well.”
To top off a great day for Paul, his partner and English Number 1 ranked women Joanna Parker was also selected for Great Britain as the individual female participant in the games and also as part of the four strong team at the Excel Arena from July 28th – August 8th.