17/07/2011 – European Youth Champion in 2008, two-times World Junior Team Champion (2005, 2008). World Junior Doubles Champion in 2008 and European Youth Olympic Champion in 2008 are just the most notable titles from the long list of Gavin EVANS’ achievements. English player accustomed us to watch him at the final stages of the biggest events, but then suddenly disappeared.

Seeing Gavin back in game at the European Youth Championships in Kazan was a real pleasure. At the opening day of the Championships Evans beat Ruben Jensen and gave his contribution to his team’s straight matches victory over Denmark. At the end of the group stages his team finished second and progressed to the Round of 16. “Against Denmark it was my first match after 16 months. I had an injury and that affected my performance,” explained Evans.

Young player (born 1993), had a really tough period in past two years. “I had three hip surgeries in last 10 months and I had a lot of rehab to go through. I came off crutches maybe 9 weeks ago and I am trying to train a little bit, but it is still some way to go. I had a problem with the bones in my hip and when I moved it was so painful. I had a scan and doctors told me, you have to have a hip operation.”

It was a major operation. Doctors found that there was extra bone growing into the cartilage of his hip. It had damaged the cartilage and so it meant that they had to shave away some of the bone and repair the cartilage. “I had a little problem after 2008, but the situation worsened in 2010 and become really hard. Every time I had to play I have been taking tablets. I could not move and I just had to find a solution for that. The turning point was at Luxembourg Senior Open when I just could not move. I took painkillers and it did not go away, so I flew back to England and I had to have surgery.”

Now things are getting better. “I can move well now. I do not have problem any more. I am so happy.” Now Gavin can focus on his performance and this fantastic event that lays ahead of us – Olympic Games in London 2012. “Everything now has to do with London 2012. Millions of tickets have been sold already. English table tennis is seeking for the chance to come through; to make a break before the Olympics. It is the chance for all of us.”

Is there a chance that we will see you at the Olympic tournament?
“I have to get some results this year first. I am not fully fit yet, but I am training hard and hopefully I will reach much higher level. It will be so nice to play in London. It is my country. My main aim is to get myself fit, to improve my rankings and move on to try to get to the best in the world.”

And what about your goals in Kazan?
“This is the first tournament that I take in the year and a half. I will enjoy every match and fight for every point,” promised Gavin Evans.

Evans played in his first competition at six, was a national champion at eight and played internationally at the age of just 10.

(by Milica NIKOLIC, from the ETTU Website)

Picture courtesy of  Henk Hommes