Joanna Parker recently became the English number one woman and the highest ranked British player in the world rankings out of both the men’s and women’s lists. She, like Kelly Sibley, was influential in the women gaining promotion from the Challenge Division in the European Championships in Poland. She won 10 of her first 11 matches with only world number 45 Krisztina Toth (now ranked 39) managing to stop her run.
Date of birth:
10th June 1987
Who are you?
I’m a professional athlete who has been playing table tennis since the age of seven. I’m from Chertsey in Surrey, currently living and training in Sheffield in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics.
Winning my first international gold medal and hearing the national anthem being played.
When/how did you get involved with table tennis?
I started at an after-school club when I was seven. I had a natural feeling for the game and loved to play, and at the age of 12 I was picked by the England squad to live and train in the national academy in Nottingham where I lived for four years – leaving my parents and family down in Surrey.
When I was 16 it sadly had to close due to a lack of funding and so at 17 I then moved to Berlin where I lived for two years playing full-time for a club there. After two years I then moved home to start training in the centre in Sheffield where I am now.
What does the Olympics mean to you?
I have devoted most of my life to playing table tennis, I love competing, especially for my country. To represent GB in the Olympic Games in my home country would just be a dream come true. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we are lucky to have.