GB name squad for Olympic qualifier
May 4, 2012 11:55 am
Great Britain's table tennis stars have one last opportunity to secure a place in this year's London Olympics off their own back after a six-person squad was picked for the final qualification competition.
Three-strong men's and women's groups competed in the European Olympic Qualification Tournament but no player succeeded in their quest.
However, there are two spots up for grabs per gender at the Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament, where the same male triumvirate - of Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Adam Baggaley - that failed in Luxembourg will try again.
English national champion Kelly Sibley will not compete due to a hip injury, meaning Naomi Owen completes a female trio that also includes Joanna Parker and Na Liu.
Should none of the players succeed, Britain will still be represented at the Games, with host national qualification places guaranteeing six players spots.
Yet Pitchford is hoping to avoid a nervous wait to find out if he will be selected on May 15 by grabbing one of the two available at Doha.
"I am pleased to have been picked," said Pitchford. "A couple of weeks ago, I did not really know if they were going to send anybody.
"I am delighted that I am going - I think everybody wants to go without using a host nation place.
"I think if I am in good shape and playing well then it is possible to qualify, but it is going to be difficult with only two places available."
Copyright © Press Association Ltd. 2012, All Rights Reserved.