Worksop’s Walker gets Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth call up

Table Tennis Ponds Forge Sheffield Saturday, English National Championships'Sam Walker in action in his Match with Chris Doran
Table Tennis Ponds Forge Sheffield Saturday, English National Championships'Sam Walker in action in his Match with Chris Doran

A Worksop teenager is dreaming of Commonwealth gold after earning selection for the England table tennis team.

Sam Walker was named in the national team for Glasgow 2014, just before he flew out to China for a training camp on Thursday.

And the 19-year-old is relishing his chance to add further glory to his CV, after helping England to win promotion back to the top division of the world game for the first time in 17 years at the World Team Championships in Japan last month.

The former Valley and Redlands student said: “It feels great to be representing England at such a prestigious event.”

“Four years ago I watched the England men’s team win a silver medal in Delhi and all I could think at that time was how much I wanted to be in that team too, to win medals at the Commonwealth Games - so I set a goal to make the team for Glasgow.”

“Now that I’ve got that chance, I’m ready to go and fight for my country and the team to win those medals, only hopefully this time it will be gold instead of silver.”

His dad Steve, who is heavily involved in the local table tennis scene, said the family were over the moon.

“It’s great news for him and for Worksop table tennis, it just shows what can be done if you work hard,” he said.

“It will be wonderful to see him perform at that level.”

“We always thought he would have a chance, but possibly not at this early stage, he’s made so much progress.”

With tickets for the table tennis selling out six weeks ago, Walker’s family will have to watch his tournament online and on television.

And they won’t be alone in following his progress.

“We have other players wanting to follow in his footsteps,” he said.

“And it’s great for his coach Howard Knott who has coached him since he was six.”

Walker is joined in the England men’s squad by Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Andrew Baggaley and Daniel Reed.

The women’s squad features Joanna Drinkhall, Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho, Hannah Hicks and Karina Le Fevre.

Both squads now fly to China for a two-week training camp.