Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

LONG HAUL AHEAD; but Drinkhall Targets Gold

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

LONG HAUL AHEAD; but Drinkhall Targets Gold

Article excerpt

NO fewer than 11 Teesside athletes will be representing their country at the Commonwealth Games, which start in Delhi on Sunday. PHILIP TALLENTIRE will be covering the games in India and has spoken to all Tees representatives about their hopes and aspirations. In the second of four in-depth previews, we shine the spotlight on table tennis stars Paul Drinkhall, Danny Reed and Karina Lefevre, and Tees tennis talent Sarah Borwell.

TEESSIDE'S table tennis trio are geared up for a marathon rather than a sprint in Delhi.

Paul Drinkhall, Danny Reed and Karina Lefevre can expect to spend all 11 competition days at the city's purpose-built Yamuna Sports Complex.

Table tennis is the only event to be spread over the entire event but, with such a heavy schedule, that could prove to be a blessing for England's three Teessiders.

Paul, Danny and Karina, who learned their skills at the Ormesby club, are all tipped to represent their country in the singles, doubles, mixed doubles and the team competition.

English No 1 Drinkhall carries the greatest medal burden but he's happy to be a hot tip for gold, particularly in the men's singles.

"I'm looking to medal in every event, and I would like that to be gold," said the Loftus 20-year-old, who is now based in Sheffield.

"To win a medal, especially in the singles, would be huge in terms of my career so far.

"In the singles I've beaten everybody that I'm likely to be up against with the exception of Singapore's No 1 Gao Ning and I've only played him once.

"Singapore are the major threat to England," he added. "They are one of the best teams in the world, but we still have a good chance."

Paul will partner Darius Knight in the doubles and his girlfriend Joanna Parker in the mixed doubles.

"I've played alongside Darius for years, since we were youngsters, so we have a very good understanding" he explained.

"Joanna and I haven't played together in the mixed for too long but we have a good understanding. …

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