Table Tennis

England ‘hungry’ for Worlds as they bid to secure Olympics spot

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A coveted place in the men’s team event at the Paris Olympics is the goal for England when the World Team Championships get under way in Busan, South Korea, on Friday.

A quarter-final place will mean qualification is assured – which also brings with it two singles places – though reaching the last 16 will also put England in a good position when the final line-up for Paris is confirmed.

England are in Group 2 with Germany, USA, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia, and have a full-strength team of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Tom Jarvis and Sam Walker on duty.

The players, coach John Murphy and Head of Performance Development Gavin Evans have had a high-class preparation camp in Japan with the Singapore squad for the past few days and Evans said: “We’ve got a very clear goal – qualify for the Olympic Games.

“We’re going in there hungry – we’re the lions trying to chase.

“We’ve got a draw that’s challenging, with Germany in our group, but we still believe we can put a great performance in there. The other countries we feel we have a good opportunity to put great performances in and beat them, but it’s a World Championships and everyone’s got the same goals.

“Regardless of whether we’re favourite or not, it’s going to be a big fight and we’re going in there hungry. We have to fight for every point and we’ve got to get behind one another and do a job.”

Murphy added: “It’s going to take a really big team effort. We have four really good players going, all in good form.

“The message in the team is ‘be hungry’ – we’ve nothing to defend here, we’re going to take our spot rather than trying to defend something that’s not there really.”

See more of the interview with Gavin and John below.

The squad they will start their campaign on Saturday. Although the match against Kazakhstan is at 10am local time, the nine-hour time difference means it will be a late night if you want to follow it from the UK – it will be 1am when the first ball is struck.

England then play a match a day for the next three days, starting with USA on Sunday 18th (4am UK time), then the big match with Germany on Monday 19th (8am UK time) and finally Saudi Arabia on Tuesday 20th (11am UK time).

Click here to follow the competition on the WTT website.

England ‘hungry’ for Worlds as they bid to secure Olympics spot Table Tennis England.

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