England celebrate promotion in Tokyo two years ago

England paired with Germany at the Worlds

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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England’s men have been drawn against second seeds Germany and hosts Malaysia as they step back on to the top stage of world table tennis.

The squad of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Andrew Baggaley and Sam Walker will be performing in the Championship Division at the World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur at the end of next month.

England, seeded 18, will be in Group B, which also features Sweden (seeded eighth), France (ninth) and Denmark (16th). The hosts are ranked 24th.

It is the first time since 1997 that England have featured at the top table – having earned promotion at the corresponding event in Tokyo two years ago. Three athletes from that squad return, Baggaley having replaced Danny Reed.

The women’s squad of Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Karina Le Fevre, ranked 32, will play in Group E in the Second Division and were drawn against the top seeds at that level – Serbia – ranked 25.

The group is completed by Canada (34th), Belgium (39th), Turkey (42nd) and New Zealand (48th).

Sibley and Ho were both in the 2014 squad, which also featured Joanna Drinkhall and Hannah Hicks and which finished 29th.

Both squads have performance targets of finishing in the top 25.

In the men’s Third Division, Scotland are in Group J alongside USA, Algeria, Luxembourg, Guatemala and Cyprus. Ireland are in Group L with Congo Brazzaville, Indonesia, Lebanon, Estonia and Sri Lanka.

In the women’s Third Division, Wales are in Group I with Indonesia, Macao, Finland, Norway and Laos.

Also in the Third Division, Draycott TT Club members Inta Zdanovska (27) and Diana Rusinova (19) will be representing Latvia against teams from Argentina, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Mongolia and Azerbaijan.

The tournament takes place from February 28 to March 6.

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