by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably in the Scottish city, it was runners up spot in the Men’s Team event but since those times, the English outfit has enjoyed notable success. Against all expectations they were bronze medallists at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
“We want to win the team gold; that’s the first event and the first priority. For us, we’ve got the experience even though we’re a young team and we’re up there with the favourites.” Paul Drinkhall
A positive approach from Paul Drinkhall, who with wife Joanna won the Mixed Doubles event in Glasgow; Sam Walker is event more positive.
“It’s always great to represent my country, especially at a multi-sports event. I’ve never been to Australia, so I’m looking forward to that. My ambitions are lots of medals, hopefully! For the team, I think gold has to be the ambition, but I’d like gold in everything; that’s what I’m aiming for.” Sam Walker
However, Sam Walker who responds on the big stage, is well aware that there will be tough competition in Gold Coast.
“I think India are the big threats in the team. They have got four players now who have been playing well and have gone up the rankings. They’re going to be a tough side to beat but so are we. Singapore and Nigeria are dangerous as well.” Sam Walker
Ready for the fray; for Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker it is a special venture but nothing new, for David McBeath is a watershed moment.
“I’m buzzing and it’s my first time in Australia as well, so I’m looking forward to that. I think we’ve got a very good chance in the team event. The guys have proved with the World Championships bronze that they can compete with anyone. I definitely think we can win gold. We’ve got a good team spirit; we are all friends outside table tennis and get on well together. We’ve been around each other for quite a while in the England team or playing abroad and I’ve grown up with the others and played together in the cadets and juniors.” David McBeath
A first for David McBeath, a fourth for Paul Drinkhall; for the England Men’s Team, especially with the 2018 World Team Cup in London imminent, there appears to be a buoyancy in the air; that could be the crucial factor in Gold Coast.