Commonwealth Games: Veteran Drinkhall leads ping-pong bid

You could be forgiven for not being overly clued up on table tennis and the stars of the game, yet the sport is growing at a phenomenal rate in this country.

Paul Drinkhall
Paul Drinkhall

Now an eleven-strong squad is heading to Australia in search of Commonwealth Games glory and amongst their ranks are three from this region.

Paul Drinkhall from Middlesbrough represents the best chance of success for his county and country. The 28-year-old will be making his fourth appearance at the Games and boasts an impressive record. After finishing fourth on his debut in 2006, he went on to claim a silver in 2010 and a gold in 2014 in the mixed doubles.

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Drinkhall is quite the elder statesman in comparison to Sam Walker, the 22-year-old from Worksop who is making his second Games appearance. In 2014 he was part of the men’s team that claimed a silver in the overall team event and was part of the groundbreaking 2016 team that won a World Championship medal for the first time since 1983.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old ping-pong star Kim Daybell will be making his first appearance at the Games, having already represented his country at the Paralympics in 2012 and 2016.

The Sheffield-born player made his international debut in 2008.

A silver medal at last year’s European Championships in Slovenia gave Daybell his first taste of major success and he will be keen to experience more on the Gold Coast this April.

Elsewhere, there are call-ups for veteran Kelly Sibley, who will be looking for her first gold in four attempts.

Liam Pitchford from Chesterfield will be competing in the mixed doubles and young prospect Tin-Tin Ho will also feature for Team England.