Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

He's the Tops

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

He's the Tops

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Teesside table tennis star Paul Drinkhall is Euro king!

The 17-year-old from Skelton has been named official European No.1 Junior in the latest rankings.

This follows Paul's success in the European Junior Top 12 championships in Latvia.

He beat Pengfei Jiang from Turkey in the Top 12 final and Jiang is listed as No.2 in the Euro rankings.

Paul is a clear leader as No.1 because under the European TT Union's ratings system, he has 2284 points compared to 19999 for Jiang.

Drinkhall, the BBC's runner-up in the Young Sports Personality of the Year contest and England No.1, has also been named top seed at the English national championships at Ponds Forge, in Sheffield, next weekend.

Paul shook the table tennis world recently when he took Olympic champion Ryu Seung Min to three match points at the China Open.

Also last year he won the individual gold medal at the UK School Games in Glasgow.

As a result he moves ahead of last year's national champion, 31-year-old Alex Perry, who is named No.2 seed.

Sixteen-year-old Darius Knight from London, who is a great friend and international training partner of Drinkhall and is rated No.5 junior in Europe, comes into the reckoning at No 3. Seeds:

Men: 1 P Drinkhall (Cleveland), 2 A Perry (Devon), 3 D Knight (Surrey), 4 A Rushton (Gt Manchester), 5 A Baggeley (Bucks), 6 T Young (Berks).

Women: 1 K Sibley (Warwicks), 2 J Parker (Surrey), 3 H Lower (Staffs), 4 N Bawden (Essex), 5 A Embling (Essex ), 6 L Spink (Norfolk).

Drinkhall and Knight were in action in the Qatar Grand Prix last week, with Paul missing one of the best wins of his career by a fraction.

He went down in the men's singles qualifying 14-12 in the seventh set to world No.46 Bastian Steger of Germany.

In fact Steger had to recover two match points against in the final game. …

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