Drinkhall hoping for a Games boost

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TABLE TENNIS: Paul Drinkhall reflected positively on his London 2012 experience after Team GB’s table tennis push ended at the ExCeL Arena last night.

Middlesbrough’s Drinkhall has led something of a renaissance for the sport at the Games after reaching the third round of the singles.

En route, he overcame Singapore’s Zi Yang – a scalp that electrified a raucous crowd whose backing of the Brits has been exceptional.

Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Andrew Baggaley could not repeat those efforts, however, as they fell at the first hurdle in the team event, losing to Portugal, who secured a quarter-final berth.

Yet that has not detracted from Drinkhall’s enthusiasm for an “amazing experience”.

He said: “I won a couple of games in the singles, which were great moments. Coming into it, I had no idea what it was going to be like and how I would perform under the pressure and in front of the crowd. But it has been an amazing experience.

“If the crowds can be like this all the time at table tennis and there can be more advertising, then table tennis will be given a major boost in Britain.

“I think there is definitely a market for it.”

Great Britain’s women also fell at the first hurdle in the team event.

Their task was always going to be extremely difficult given they were alongside the bottom eight seeds in the 16-team draw.

Rotherham’s Joanna Parker, Kelly Sibley and Na Liu were were though soundly beaten by North Korea.