European Youth Championship squad selected

Russell Moore

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Sam Walker won a team bronze in Kazan, Russia in 2011

The England squad has been announced for the 55th European Youth Championships in Schwechat, Austria with the players hoping to emulate the successes from recent history.

Last year in Kazan, Russia the junior boy’s team of Liam Pitchford, Sean Cullen, Gavin Evan, Lewis Gray and Sam Walker managed to finish in fourth place and, in the process, earned themselves a bronze medal.

Walker and Gray will again be present this year but this time they will be joined by Igor Morais, and George Downing. Meanwhile the junior girls team consists of Vicky Smith, Emily Bates, Jessica Dawson and Yolanda King.

This time the pressure will be less on the junior boys as expectations are lower without English number 2 Pitchford. However, it is the English number 1, Paul Drinkhall, who has provided the greatest recent success for England in this prestigious competition.

Drinkhall won six titles at three different European Youth Championships including an amazing treble from Terni, Italy in 2008. In that tournament he won the junior boys singles, the boys doubles with England number 5 Darius Knight and also the mixed doubles with Russian Ekaterina Kolodyazhnaya.

He was also part of the junior England team that won in 2007 in Bratislava as well as the cadet team who won in Prague in 2005 with Knight also an integral part in both campaigns.

The world number 102 won the cadet singles that year in Prague before, three years later, Gavin Evans was the cadet champion in Terni.

Suffice to say that England has an impressive record in the cadet competitions at these championships and it’s something that the current squad will look to build on again this year.

Number 1 cadet girl Tin-Tin Ho has a real chance a picking up a singles medal in Austria. She will also be looking to gain promotion to level 1 in the team event where she is joined by the explosive Maria Tsaptsinos and the reliable Lois Peake.

The cadet boys might also hope to cause a surprise in Schwechat as Helshan Weerasinghe, who has improved a great deal this year, will be joined international regulars Sam Mabey and Daniel Lawrence.

Finally, last and not least, it’s another international appearance for Mick Strode who will be a deputy referee at the tournament.

To see the draw for the junior teams click here

To see the draw for the cadet teams click here

Full Squad News

Junior Boys: Sam Walker, Igor Morais, Lewis Gray and George Downing

Junior Girls: Vicky Smith, Emily Bates, Jessica Dawson and Yolanda King

Cadet Boys: Helshan Weerasinghe, Sam Mabey and Daniel Lawrence

Cadet Girls: Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos and Lois Peake

Coaches: Nick Jarvis, Paul Whiting, Matthew Stanforth and Helen Lower

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