British team named for Tokyo 2020 qualifiers

Paul Stimpson

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Seven British players will have the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in their sights when they compete in the World Team Qualification event in Portugal.

Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker and Tom Jarvis will represent the men, while Tin-Tin Ho, Charlotte Carey and Maria Tsaptsinos will compete in the women’s event.

The competition, in Gondomar from January 22 to 26, will decide which nations qualify to compete in the team events at the Tokyo Olympics.

Great Britain men are likely to be among the seeds in Portugal, where the teams will be drawn into brackets of eight, and could play up to three matches – effectively a quarter-final, semi-final and final. The eight nations winning those finals will earn a place at the Olympics.

The nations which lose in the finals will enter into a repechage phase of knockout matches with the winner of that also going to Tokyo.

That means a total of nine men’s and nine women’s teams will qualify in Portugal and will join the continental champions and hosts Japan to make up the final fields of 16 at the Olympics.

If Great Britain qualify in Portugal, Team GB will automatically receive two singles places at the Olympics. If Great Britain miss out, there will be no further opportunity to qualify a team for Team GB, but individual players can book their place through the singles qualifying process in the spring of 2020.

Pitchford, Drinkhall, and Walker are all beneficiaries from the Aspiration Fund given by UK Sport to aid athletes in qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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