Worksop table tennis ace Sam Walker called up by Team GB for European Games

Sam Walker
Sam Walker

Sam Walker has his eye on a place at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year after a first Team GB call-up for the European Games next month.

The 24-year-old Worksop player has been named alongside English colleagues Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Tin-Tin Ho, plus Charlotte Carey of Wales, for the event in Belarus at the end of June.

Walker, who will compete in the men’s singles and the team event in Belarus, wore Team GB colours at the Rio Olympics, helping the team to the quarter-finals.

Table tennis is one of three sports, alongside archery and shooting, where there are opportunities to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The top three athletes in the men’s and women’s singles, plus the gold medal-winning teams, will all earn an automatic place at the Olympics.

Walker said: “Obviously I’m really happy to be selected. It’s a chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which would mean winning the team event or coming in the top three in the singles, so that’s definitely the goal.

“It’s going to be very tough. All the top players in Europe will be there and the top teams, but we’ve proved before that we can competewith the best. We believe we can do it.”

Walker said he was happy with his current form, which has seen good results in the French League this season and at international events.

“I’ve got a week training in Korea and then I’m off to the Hong Kong Open as a team with Liam and Paul.

“It’s a case of seeing where my game is at, making a few tweaks and then I’ll be ready for the (European)Games,” he added.

Team GB leader Simon Mills said: “We’re delighted to increase the squad from the last European Games. The focus is on enabling the athletes to deliver their best, with the added incentive of the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo.”