Drinkhall to represent GB at Rio Olympics

Liam Pitchford (left) and Paul Drinkhall (right) will represent Great Britain in Men's Table Tennis in the Rio Olympics Credit: Table Tennis England

A Teesside athlete has been selected to represent Great Britain at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio.

Paul Drinkhall, 26, from Loftus, is one of two players that will represent GB in the Men's singles event after qualifying through his International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world ranking of 60th.

Liam Pitchford, ranked 51st in the world, earned the other remaining GB quota place.

Both players narrowly missed out on automatic qualification at a European Olympic Qualification event in Sweden last month.

The pair represented Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics but this is the first time Drinkhall and Pitchford have qualified outright. It is also the first time two singles players have qualified for Great Britain since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Drinkhall, who is delighted with his selection, said:

I speak for everyone that we don’t just want to qualify and go there – we believe we can take on the world’s best. London was amazing but, table tennis-wise, it was slightly too early for both of us.

Paul Drinkhall

Pitchford and Drinkhall were part of the England team which won a bronze medal at this year's World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur.