Drinkhall eager to prove Olympic class

22 May 2012 / 16:11

Table tennis star Paul Drinkhall is determined to "prove to everyone that I should be there" when the London Olympics get under way later this year.

The 22-year-old, who recently broke into the top 100 in the International Table Tennis Federation world rankings, came agonisingly close to qualifying for the Games off his own back.

Drinkhall lost a make-or-break seven-game thriller to Yaroslav Zhmudenko at the Final World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha.

That meant he, along with five others selected in Team GB's squad, had to utilise host nation qualification places to secure their spots - something that has made Drinkhall all the more determined to upset the odds.

"I got pretty close in Doha to qualifying by right and unfortunately just missed out," he said.

"It would have been great for me to qualify off my own back, and for the sport of table tennis, so not to do so was very disappointing.

"If you qualify by right, you get that extra feeling that you belong but we are lucky this year that the Olympics is in London and we have this to fall back on.

"I have still got this spot and I am going to give it my all; I want to knock some players out that did qualify by right to prove to everyone that I should be there."

Drinkhall is the only Briton represented in the men's singles, but will be joined by Andrew Baggaley and Liam Pitchford for the team event.

Joanna Parker will lead the women's charge in the singles and compete alongside Kelly Sibley and Na Liu in the team competition.