Burnley table tennis star Felicity Pickard can’t wait to test herself at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast next month.
The 23-year-old is one of an 11-strong Team England squad, consisting of eight able bodied and three para players, who will compete at Oxenford
And Pickard said: “It’s an exciting prospect, I’ve never really been to something big like this before, especially a multi-sport event. The experience will be great to take into the future.
“I’ll just try to play my best and if I play the table tennis I can play, then anything is possible. I’ll just take it one match at a time. It’s a great chance to be part of a whole team. It shows we are now getting the recognition the same as the able-bodied athletes and I think that’s good.
“I just want to test myself and challenge myself and enjoy it. It feels a bit different being England rather than GB, but we have the same pride in representing our country.”
At the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, Team England were second on the table tennis medal table behind Singapore with five medals, including one gold, two silver and two bronze.
The team will be challenging for nine medals across both table tennis and para-table tennis, with competition running from April 5th to 15th.
Team England have won 15 Commonwealth Games table tennis medals and five of the selected athletes have previous Commonwealth Games experience.
The squad selected have 12 Commonwealth medals between them.
Team England will send a team of around 600 athletes – including Burnley hammer ace Sophie Hitchon – and staff in what will be England’s largest ever team to represent the nation in an overseas sporting event.
The team will compete in 18 sports, including 38 para medal events.