Pitchford full of confidence ahead of World Team Champs outing
Table Tennis

Pitchford full of confidence ahead of World Team Champs outing

25 February 2016 / 11:24

Liam Pitchford insists England men will hold no fear when they make their first appearance in the top division of the table tennis World Team Championships since 1997 on Sunday.

Pitchford will form part of a three-strong team representing England in the Championship Division in Kuala Lumpur alongside Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker.

Their first appearance at that level in 19 years comes after England earned promotion in the last edition of the tournament in Tokyo in 2014.

They have been drawn in Group B and open their campaign against eighth seeds Sweden before taking on France, Denmark, second seeds Germany and hosts Malaysia.

And while without the experienced Andrew Baggaley due to injury, Rio hopeful Pitchford believes England, seeded 18th, can more than hold their own.

“I’m feeling really good, it will be a good challenge,” Pitchford told Table Tennis England.

“In my opinion we’ve got a good draw. Obviously they are all hard matches, but we’ve got nearly all European teams and if we play well there’s no reason we can’t finish in the top three and get through to the next stage.

“Obviously Germany are the best team in Europe. Sweden, we know quite well. They are tricky players with tricky serves but if we can receive well we stand a good chance in the rallies.

“With France, I know Simon Gauzy quite well and Paul has played in the same club as Emmanuel Lebesson this year. They are good players, but we are too and if we play well we can get a win.

“As long as we go there and believe in ourselves, anything is possible. We go with confidence.

“We’ve got nothing to lose. Last time the pressure was on us and we showed what we could do by winning the second division. This time there’s no pressure to win.

“I want to peak for the Sunday and that first match, but I’m playing quite well in the league and I’m unbeaten in 2016 and that will give me confidence.”

England women’s team of Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Karina Le Fevre are also in action and will face the second division’s top seeds in the form of Serbia as well as Canada, Belgium, Turkey and New Zealand in Group E.