29 Dec 2016

England's Samuel Walker enjoyed a fantastic year on the world table tennis scene, having surpassed many of the sport's followers' expectations; the 21-year-old is hoping to use his successes achieved in 2016 as a stepping stone to reach the next level in his career moving forward.

by Simon Daish

Samuel Walker won a bronze medal with England at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships, he represented Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games and received a nomination for the ITTF Star Point Award in what can be only described as an incredible year of table tennis for the Englishman.

With many of the sport’s top players being separated by small margins, confidence can very often prove pivotal to successful outcomes. Samuel Walker insisted that despite all of his achievements in 2016 that he wasn’t particularly shocked at his terrific record during the year.

“I always believed I could do the unpredictable and I always believed in myself to do the things that perhaps other people didn’t believe I could do. And I work hard to do it. So if I’d been talking to someone at the start of 2016 and they said I would win a world medal, get to the Olympics, be nominated in the ITTF Star Awards, get to my first senior Nationals final – well, I’d certainly have taken that, but I wouldn’t have said they were crazy”, Sam Walker.

Along with the appearances at high-profile competitions Samuel Walker also managed to pick up a couple of huge scalps throughout the year including victories over Japan’s Yuya Oshima at the World Team Championships and France’s Simon Gauzy at Rio 2016. Walker claimed that it was his self-belief that helped him to pull off the remarkable showings.

“I do have self-belief, plus I don’t think too much about the occasion and that helps me a lot. This year, the chances I got against the top players happened to be at the two biggest tournaments, and I believe I can beat anybody on the day and when I get my chances I take them more often than not” – Samuel Walker.

Walker has proven in 2016 that he can compete with the world’s top table tennis athletes. Now the English star has his sights set on not only obtaining a place in the top 100 ranking positions but is also looking to impress at the 2018 Commonwealth Games which are to be hosted on the Gold Coast in Australia.

“The top 100 is a target but I’m trying not to look at that too often. I’m just trying to improve my game in the Bundesliga… The Nationals and individual Worlds in 2017 are big but the biggest is the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It’s a year and a few months away and at that stage, if I keep working hard and stay fit, I feel I can be one of the top players in that competition. It’s a big goal. It’s every four years whereas the Europeans and Worlds are big tournaments but are every year, so that’s one reason it’s a big focus. I definitely believe we can win medals and put on a good performance”, Samuel Walker.

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