London Olympian Paul Drinkhall praised his squad’s togetherness after England’s men won the Challenge Division title to put the icing on the cake of their World Table Tennis Team Championship promotion campaign.
England had already earned promotion from the competition in Tokyo to reclaim their place in the top tier of the table tennis world.
But Drinkhall and co didn’t stop there as England went on to beat Italy 3-1 in the Championship Division final.
Liam Pitchford gave them the perfect start with a 3-1 win over Leonardo Mutti, before Drinkhall withstood a comeback from 2-0 down by Marco Rech Daldosso to close out a 3-2 victory.
Sam Walker, in at No 3 in place of Daniel Reed, went down in four ends to Niagol Stoyanov, but Pitchford beat Daldosso in four to spark the title party.
And Drinkhall – who became the first Englishman to win a World Tour Open since 1996 when he triumphed in the Spanish Open earlier this month – insists it was nothing less than they deserved.
“As a team it’s been perfect,” the 24-year-old said. “The group was an amazing start and we all played well, then we had the scare against Nigeria, but sometimes that can help.
“I think it got us into the spirit of close matches and helped us come through.
“Personally I would have liked to have played a bit better, but it’s been a great tournament and it’s unbelievable to get promoted.”
© Sportsbeat 2014