North-East Commonwealth medallist returns to action in European Championships

MEDAL WINNERS: Paul and Joanna Drinkhall celebrate their mixed doubles success at the Commonwealth Games

MEDAL WINNERS: Paul and Joanna Drinkhall celebrate their mixed doubles success at the Commonwealth Games

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

COMMONWEALTH GAMES gold medallists Paul and Joanna Drinkhall will aim to add to their medal collection when they compete in the European Team Table Tennis Championships in Lisbon next month.

The mixed doubles champions from Glasgow have been named in the England squad that will compete in Portugal along with domestic number one Liam Pitchford, fellow Commonwealth Games team member Sam Walker, Darius Knight and female trio Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Hannah Hicks.

Hutton Rudby’s Daniel Reed, who was also in action in Glasgow, has not been considered for selection because of university commitments.

Drinkhall, who is from Loftus, has risen to his highest ever world ranking of 78 in the wake of his exploits in Glasgow, and is hoping to continue climbing in the next two years in order to qualify for a place at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The men’s squad are looking to emulate their achievement at the World Team Championships in Tokyo in May, when they won the Challenger Division to return to the top tier – the Championship Division – after a 17-year gap.

If they repeat the feat in Portugal, they would have the added bonus of qualifying for the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan, next summer.

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