Birmingham 2022: The person behind the paddle, Charlotte Bardsley's journey to Commonwealth Games

It's one of the first events on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games calendar.

A sport of fast thinking and high intensity - table tennis competitors from across the world will gather in the second city to be crowned the champion.

One of those is Charlotte Bardsley from Birmingham.

The 20-year-old was selected to be apart Team England's squad for the games.

But, Charlotte isn't an ordinary athlete, when she was 10, she started to go to after school clubs and was soon scouted for regional training.

What followed, was medals and titles at national competitions. Charlotte then caught the bug for the game and wanted to keep going.

She was recommended to try training in Germany, and loved it so much that she moved there by herself.

Not people would know but like so many elite athletes there are more sides that makes the person behind the paddle.

Charlotte is passionate about inspiring the next generation and as part of international women's day this year, she was invited back her school in Stourbridge - Old Swinford Hospital.

There she spoke to some of the students who said following Charlotte's visit they'd never felt more inspired.

On June 7, Team England announced their squad for the Commonwealth Games, and Charlotte made the cut.

And standing in Charlotte’s corner this summer are her family who are hoping all her hard work and training will bring home the gold.

So what has Charlotte Bardsley achieved already?

  • Under 15 England National Champion

  • Under 18 England National Champion

  • National cups

  • Under 19 title

  • Under 21 Champion at England Senior National Championship

  • Runner-up in doubles and joint 3rd in singles.

  • Junior World Tour Slovakian Open 2019 Champion

  • Full senior debut for the England team in 2018

Outside of the table tennis court, Charlotte has an interest in history and politics and that interest will see her study both subjects at Cambridge University in September.

If all goes well this summer, Charlotte will be heading to Cambridge with a gold.

Although, the 20-year-old has already achieve so much in her career, she's not settling, as Charlotte has her eyes set on the senior nationals but she's know just like all of her other achievements it won't come without hard work.