Worksop wonder Walker says he’s going four gold in Oz

Sam Walker (Pic: Alan Man)
Sam Walker (Pic: Alan Man)

Worksop Olympian Sam Walker is out to quadruple his Commonwealth medal return in Australia.

The 22-year-old won a Commonwealth team silver four years ago in Glasgow, but this time round he’s targetting team gold, as well as singles, doubles and mixed doubles glory.

Sam Walker (Pic: Alan Man)

Sam Walker (Pic: Alan Man)

Walker and his England team-mates are fresh from the Team World Cup, where they took bronze.

In the group stages a 3-1 defeat to Japan was followed by a win over Egypt by the same scoreline.

England beat Brazil in the quarter-finals before losing out to China, with Walker losing his singles match 3-0.

Whilst the former Redlands student admits it could have gone better, he says England can take confidence from it.

“It went well. I think we did as well as we could after the group,” he said.

“We gave China a good game but they were a little too strong for us in the end, definitely in my match. That was a tough one.

“But we’re all really happy with a bronze medal, we’ve got another world bronze and we’re showing everyone that England are a team to be reckoned with on the world stage.”

“All of this is build up to the Commonwealths, the main event for us this season.

“It gives us a lot of confidence that we know we’re playing well already.”

Walker has a busy lead up to the Commonwealth Games, with the national championships this weekend, the Qatar Open next week and a training camp in China.

He’s happy with his form, while still working on a number of things in order to give him the best chance of landing his desired medal haul.

“I think my form is quite good, I’ve still got some things to get right before I get out to Australia, but that’s fine. I’ve got time and I’m quite relaxed,” he said.

“I would like to get a medal in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

“I’m aiming for gold again but in the singles it’s not so straight forward, there’s a lot of players in with a shout of medals.

“For the team competition we want to get gold, that’s the big aim for us.

“We’re definitely capable of it.

“There’s other teams who are really good as well, so it won’t be an easy task, but I definitely believe we can do it.”

For a player who began his life in sport in the Worksop and District Table Tennis League, talking about Commonwealth gold in Australia shows just how far Walker has come.

And looking back to his humble beginnings is a worthwhile exercise according to the ASV Grünwettersbach professional, ranked 90th in the world.

“I think it’s really important, you can get a bit narrow minded and focusing on everything that’s coming,” he said.

“Sometimes it can be a bit demoralising if you’re not in your best form, so it’s nice to take a step back and realise how far you’ve come.

“That’s why it’s good to go back to Redlands and give something back to the sport and to Worksop.”

Walker and the England team have proved over the past four years that the sport is in rude health in this country.

But he’s pleased that it also appears to be growing in his home town.

“Five or six years ago there was only really Redlands who had a big club,” he said.

“But now I know there’s Ryton Park who are quite big.

“Some of the others are getting bigger too, Stanley Street have got a few more teams in the league.

“At Redlands when I go down it’s always full, there’s a lot of players, a lot of kids, it’s really nice to see.

“Everyone seems really keen.

“I think the sport in Worksop is doing well.”