Jo Drinkhall ready for Nationals comeback

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Please note - this news article was published more than three years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jo Drinkhall will make her playing comeback at the PG Mutual National Championships.

The three-time national women’s singles champion will play doubles only in Nottingham, alongside her husband Paul in the mixed and her regular partner Kelly Sibley in the women’s.

It will be her first high-profile action since she and Paul topped the podium at Glasgow 2014, leading an England 1-2-3 in the mixed. Since then, she and Paul have started a family, with son Dougie arriving in 2015, followed by daughter Bonnie last year.

The PG Mutual Nationals are at the University of Nottingham from March 3-5 and tickets are available now, starting at £5. Click here to buy tickets

As well as her three singles titles, Drinkhall has won six women’s doubles titles alongside Sibley, including five in a row from 2010, while she and Paul won four mixed titles, the last in 2011.

Drinkhall, 29, said:

“It’s kind of exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time. It’s a world I know extremely well but it seems a lifetime ago that I was competing, even though it’s not.

“Hopefully I will enjoy it and do okay. It would be nice to win something but realistically I’m not sure – I’ve got two pretty good partners though, so you never know!”

Drinkhall admitted a singles comeback was not on the cards just yet, adding:

“I’m not ready for singles yet but I’d like to think so one day. When I look too far into the future it’s a bit daunting but when I look bit by bit, it’s more reasonable. So I’m not going to look too far into the future but will take it step by step.

“The main thing is I keep enjoying it. I’ve had such a good career and wouldn’t want to do anything I’m not ready for.

“My priority is still my children as they are very young and depend on me. I’m not back to full-time playing but this is a start. It should be interesting!”

The PG Mutual Nationals features the leading male and female players in the country and includes a series of para events on the Saturday, March 4.

The full list of entries will be confirmed on Thursday February 9, when the draw is made. The draw will be shown live on the Table Tennis England Facebook page. Further details will follow soon.

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