North East table tennis player Paul Drinkhall says team spirit and mental strength were the main factors behind England’s remarkable bronze medal-winning performance at the World Team Championships in Malaysia.
The 26-year-old, from Loftus, helped England to bronze in Kuala Lumpur with a string of impressive performances alongside team-mates Liam Pitchford and Sam Walker.
Although England lost the Semi Final to Japan, they still became the first nation to be promoted to the top division to get on the podium at the next World Championships.
England made a slow start to the tournament with defeats to both France and Sweden. But victory over second seeds Germany - along with favourable results from Sweden - provided the platform for qualification from the group stage.
England beat Poland in the first playoff round and then got revenge for the group defeat against France when Drinkhall beat Emmanuel Lebesson in the final game to clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory. He said: