Abbie Milwain

Grand Prix winner Abbie Milwain expects the women’s game to get a huge boost on the back of the introduction of equal prize money.

The Derbyshire player was the first to benefit from a Table Tennis England decision to raise women’s prize money to the same level as men’s for the Grand Prix series when she won the season-opening Liverpool event.

And she says she believes the fact that the rewards are now the same for women as men will raise standards at the top level and increase participation lower down.

“It’s definitely a good thing for us,” said Milwain, who beat Megan Phillips 3-1 in the final. Click here for Liverpool GP reports

“Hopefully it will get more of the top players like Jo (Drinkhall) and Kelly (Sibley) to play in more Grand Prix events and give us the chance to play against the better players, which will help us improve.

“The more top players we get, the more spectators we will get and the more people will know about the sport.

“Hopefully that will encourage more young girls to get involved, to think one day they could play the top players.”

Milwain also feels the fact that the prize money is the same in all Bands is a significant step that will help to increase participation.

She said: “That’s definitely important. You can’t start at the top, you have to work your way up there, and the increase in the Bands will encourage women and girls to enter at all levels.”

Click here to see video of the men’s and women’s singles finals from Liverpool, plus the sudden death tournament.

The next stop on the Grand Prix circuit is Medway on September 6 and 7. Click here for an entry form