Following on from a busy few weeks for England’s Table Tennis players competing at the World Team Championships in Singapore, Team England caught up with England star Liam Pitchford to discuss his thoughts on the Commonwealth Games.
TE: Congratulations on winning Bronze at the World Team Championships. It’s been a busy few weeks for you hasn’t it?
LP: The last few weeks have been pretty crazy really; we started off with a training camp in Singapore before heading out to Malaysia to get ourselves used to the time difference.
At the champs we didn’t start off too well against Sweden and France but after that we knew we had to win our last three matches to get through and fortunately managed to get through the group and took it from there really. We had a nice draw and took advantage of it.
TE: You also won bronze at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, tell us about that?
LP: Glasgow was fantastic as it was close to home and we had a lot of support.
We pretty much had a home crowd behind us which was great and I was lucky to have become the first English player to win a singles medal at the Games. It would have been nicer to have been in the final, but bronze was really nice to be able to take into the next one.
TE: Speaking of the next Commonwealth Games, are you looking forward to hopefully competing at Gold Coast 2018?
LP: Of course. The Commonwealth Games is always something really special and provides England’s Table Tennis players with a real chance to get on the podium and take a lot of medals.
Following my bronze in Glasgow, I really want that gold medal now, so that’s my aim for Gold Coast 2018.
Singapore are our main rivals but I think that we proved in Glasgow that we are a strong force and come the Gold Coast, we will be even better and I am confident that we can come away from there with a win.
The Aussies have some young players to watch out for so we are looking forward to going out there and taking them on in their own back yard.
TE: It’s fair to say that the English Table Tennis team is very young and surely that means that the future is bright?
LP: I don’t think anybody expected us to win a bronze at the World Championships, especially with having a young team. Paul is the oldest – and he is only 26 – but it is exciting to have a lot of young talent coming through.
I hope it can inspire the next generation and we can prove to them that it can be done and English table tennis players can win medals on the major stages.
I played at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games and it was a massive stepping stone for me. It gave me confidence and helped me prepare for the future.