Sam Walker added to table tennis squad for Rio 2016

Team GB’s table tennis squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is complete after Sam Walker was added to the team event alongside Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall.

Walker will compete in the team event alongside Drinkhall and Pitchford – after both were officially selected for the individual competition last month.

At 21, Walker will be the youngest of the three table tennis athletes selected for Rio 2016 but has experience of competition at the top level.

In 2014 he won men’s team silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and added World Championship team bronze to his collection in 2016, competing alongside Drinkhall and Pitchford at both events.

In addition to Walker’s selection, Tom Jarvis has been named as the Team GB reserve in the team event.

So let’s meet the team!

Sam Walker, 21 Hometown: Worksop

Table Tennis player Sam Walker won his first major international medal in 2014 when he was part of the men’s team that took silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Two years later he added another major title to his collection as he helped the England team to bronze at the World Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

In the same year he secured his spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as part of the men’s team alongside Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s been one of my dreams since I started playing to represent Team GB at the Olympic Games and to get it so early in my career is incredible. I’m looking forward to it.”

Liam Pitchford, 22 Hometown: Chesterfield

Born in Chesterfield, Liam Pitchford began playing table tennis at junior school aged nine – it was a rainy day and he was looking for something to do with his friends.

What was once a distraction from the weather has turned into a full time occupation for Liam, with national singles titles at Under-14, cadet, Under-21, and senior levels, and doubles titles at Under-14, cadet, junior and senior levels.

He has played for clubs in Germany, Denmark, represented Great Britain at London 2012 and the 2015 European Games while at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow he picked up team and mixed doubles silver and men’s singles bronze.

Paul Drinkhall, 26 Hometown: Loftus

Born in Middlesbrough, Paul Drinkhall enjoyed much success at junior level – winning numerous national championships and finishing second in the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year on two occasions.

He became the youngest winner of the English senior men’s title since Chester Barnes in 1963 when he won the event in 2007 before winning a silver and a bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Paul reached the last 32 at the 2012 Olympics and won mixed doubles gold alongside wife Joanna and team silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. *Main image courtesy of Sportsbeat/Luke Britton