by Simon Daish
Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall’s places in Team England were confirmed by the country’s national association on Tuesday 4th April 2017, and speaking to the Table Tennis England website both players expressed their delight at the news.
“I’m really excited. My first Games at Delhi 2010 was the stepping stone for my career. I was 17 and playing in my first big multi-sport games and to take two medals went beyond expectations. In Glasgow, I’d established myself as a front-runner and to come away with three medals – well, I’m not going to say I was disappointed but I was disappointed not to get a gold, especially in the team event…”, Liam Pitchford.
The previous rendition of the event held in 2014 in the Scottish city of Glasgow saw Pitchford make history after he became the first English table tennis player to win a Commonwealth Games medal in the singles category, and the 23-year-old is looking to reach the top step of the podium when he travels to the Gold Coast in 2018.
“The singles was quite historic, becoming the first English player to win a medal. Going into Gold Coast, we’ve established ourselves further and we go in probably as favourites. We know if we play our best table tennis we can definitely bring home that gold. Personally I’m just missing that from my collection”, Liam Pitchford.
While Liam Pitchford may have made history in the Men’s Singles competition, his England colleague Paul Drinkhall also managed to make the headlines in Glasgow.
Paul Drinkhall and his wife Joanna Drinkhall partnered up to great success at the 2014 tournament as they captured the Mixed Doubles crown, while Paul also picked up a silver medal in the Men’s Team event.
“It’s great getting named this far out because we can focus on being in the best shape we can be, whereas when you’re still thinking about selection you are focused on that. It’s going to be my fourth Commonwealths and obviously I did well at the last one in the team and the mixed doubles. I’m hoping to go one better in the team and hopefully to get that medal in the singles”, Paul Drinkhall.
However, Paul Drinkhall heads into the 2018 Commonwealth Games aiming to achieve a similar feat to what Liam Pitchford pulled off last time out in Glasgow and claim a Men’s Singles medal.
“I’ve won a gold before and that’s a great achievement but I’d still like that medal in the singles. Going off the rankings now, I’d be one of the top seeds. It’s a really open event with a few capable of winning, and I think I’m one of them”, Paul Drinkhall.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will take place between Wednesday 4th April and Sunday 15th April 2018.