Tin-Tin Ho says she is well prepared for her first Commonwealth Games and cannot wait for the action to get under way.
The 15-year-old Londoner is one of only two debutants in the England squad, along with Sam Walker.
As one of the youngest members of Team England, there has been much interest in the media – Tin-Tin has featured in the Sunday Times, the i, Evening Standard and her own local media in Paddington.
But she believes the experience of her team-mates, plus a good period of preparation, will help her live up to the attention by making an impression in Glasgow, where she will play in the team and singles events, the women’s doubles (with Karina Le Fevre) and mixed doubles (with Liam Pitchford).
“I’m really excited to play, because it’s my first one and really excited to experience a multi-sport event,” she said.
“The other players have helped me a lot. They are quite supportive because they know the first time you can be quite nervous.
“In the team event hopefully we can get a medal, and in the singles I just hope to play my best and do as well as I can.”
Training camps in China, Lilleshall and Glasgow, plus the friendly match against Australia in Preston on Sunday, mean the squad is well prepared physically. Tin-Tin was also grateful for the input of the sports science team from Sheffield Hallam University and the England support staff.
“We had a presentation about what to expect there and it’s really good that we’ve had psychologists and fitness input,” she said. “It helped me a lot.
Against Australia, Tin-Tin was beaten 3-0 by the experienced 33-year-old Miao Miao, but was never outclassed in a match decided as much by nous as by skill. She then teamed up with Kelly Sibley to defeat Vivian Dederko and Melissa Tapper in four in the doubles.
“In my singles I hoped to play a bit better but she’s ranked quite high and I will learn from it,” said the youngster.
“I was especially pleased with our doubles because we haven’t played together that much before and it was good to have a proper practice match.
“I feel ready and I’m really excited. Hopefully we can get some medals.”
By Paul Stimpson (July 22nd, 2014)