The English contingent of Simon Mills, Sam Walker, Paul Drinkhall and Alan Cooke in Doha

Glamorous evening for Leopards at ITTF Star Awards

Paul Stimpson

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Members of the England Leopards squad have had the red carpet treatment at the ITTF Star Awards in Doha.

England were shortlisted in three categories and Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker, coach Alan Cooke and Head of Talent & Performance Simon Mills attended the glittering presentation evening at the Sheraton Grand Doha in the Gulf state of Qatar.

However, the awards did not go their way as they missed out to China, twice, and Japan.

First up, Sam Walker was beaten to the Star Point Award, which went to China’s Fan Zhendong, for a brilliant shot played under the net and which rolled on to the table, against Simon Gauzy.

Cooke was one of the runners-up in the Star Coach category as Liu Guoliang, who led all-conquering China to a clean sweep of the major prizes in Olympic year, got the judges’ verdict.

The scene at the Sheraton Grand Doha (ITTF picture)

And the Table Tennis Breakthrough Star went to Japan’s Miu Hirano, ahead of the England squad which won bronze at the World Team Championships, our first medal since 1983.

The full list of award winners was:

  • Male Table Tennis Star presented by DHS: Ma Long (CHN)
  • Female Table Tennis Star presented by Nittaku: Ding Ning (CHN)
  • Male Para Table Tennis Star presented by Tinsue: Laurens Devos (BEL)
  • Female Para Table Tennis Star presented by Stag International: Liu Jing (CHN)
  • Table Tennis Star Coach presented by Butterfly: Liu Guoliang (CHN)
  • Table Tennis Breakthrough Star presented by Monday Club: Miu Hirano (JPN)
  • Table Tennis Star Point presented by Seamaster: Fan Zhendong (CHN)
  • Fair Play Star: Rinad Fathy (EGY)

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