Jon Pett is the Team Leader for England’s Commonwealth Games table tennis squad. Here, he outlines the training regime our athletes will be following to give them the best chance of medal success in Glasgow.
Only 34 days to go until Glasgow 2014! The England team has been busy preparing for what will be a tough but exciting challenge against our fellow Commonwealth nations.
The Games have always, since table tennis’ inclusion in 2002 in Manchester, been a great opportunity to showcase the talent that England possesses on the international stage. This year will be no different, with a strong team going to Glasgow to challenge for medals.
Preparation has been going very well, results on the International stage showing the potential of our athletes, with Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall leading the way with significant performances in Germany, Poland and Spain.
The men’s team also performed extremely well in gaining promotion to the championship division for the next World Team Championships, demonstrating their current form and justifying expectations moving forward.
The current focus however is the training and preparation of the athletes for Glasgow and so the team has just completed a two-week training camp in Nanjing, China, which has gone very well.
This has provided the team with an opportunity to train with high-calibre sparring partners along with coaching from Nick Jarvis and Alan Cooke. They arrive back on June 19th, with two training camps remaining before July 24th and the start of the table tennis competition.
Prior to that, the team will be meeting next week in Burton upon Trent at the Football Association’s St George’s Park for kitting out, an exciting time for all the athletes and support staff, trying on and collecting the kit that they will be wearing in Glasgow.
From there we are being hosted by Lilleshall National Sports Centre for a training camp which will see the European Youth Championships team joining us, along with strength & conditioning and physio support staff from Sheffield Hallam University. The camp promises to be strong, with sparring partners joining us from overseas, providing the best possible preparation for our England team.
All of the athletes are then entered into the Heritage Oil Open against some high quality international competitors from the 4th-7th July in Crawley. The event is free to attend from the 4th-6th July in Crawley, with tickets required on the 7th in London. Hopefully many of the public will come along and support the English team!
The journey then takes us to Glasgow on July 13th, where the team will get to experience the Commonwealth Games Village for the first time, see their accommodation, the food hall and most importantly get in three days’ training at the competition venue. This is something that most countries aren’t taking advantage of, so hopefully will provide us with an edge!
The team will then return home for a short break before competing against Australia in Preston on July 20th, where we will be hosted by UCLan and Preston Table Tennis, to whom we are very grateful. This is the last stop before re-entering the village and competition beginning in earnest!
We hope to see many of you there supporting the England team!
England squad – men: Andrew Baggaley, Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford, Daniel Reed, Sam Walker; women: Joanna Drinkhall, Hannah Hicks, Tin-Tin Ho, Karina Le Fevre, Kelly Sibley.