Paul Drinkhall

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Paul Drinkhall (born 16 January 1990[1]) is a British table tennis player, British Number 1 & reigning National Champion. He won the English Championship in 2007, 2009, 2011 & 2012[2] He is coached by Liu Jia-Yi,[1] and is in Great Britain's Team Visa, an initiative to support young sports people to fulfil their sporting potential.[3] Paul Drinkhall is the number 1 British player ranked on the ITTF World Ranking list from March 2008 to the present day.

Drinkhall was born in Middlesbrough.[2] He enjoyed much success as a youngster, winning numerous national championships at his age level, and at levels above his own age. This success did not go unnoticed, as he was shortlisted for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2005,[4] and finished in second place after Theo Walcott in 2006. He was again shortlisted for this award in 2007. He once again finished in 2nd place in 2007.[3]

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi he won a silver medal in the Men's Team event and a bronze medal in the Mixed Doubles events.

Drinkhall has been National Champion in every age group so far eligible to compete in - Under 10, Under 11, Under 12, Under 14, Under 17, and Senior Men.[5] Paul became the youngest player since Chester Barnes to win the English Senior Men's title in Sheffield in March 2007 when he overcame the much more experienced former champion Alex Perry from Devon in the 4 - 1 contest[citation needed].

2012 Olympic Games[edit]

Paul Drinkhall qualified for the 2012 Olympic games through a host nation place.[6] In the singles event, Paul defeated Kuwait's Ibrahim Alhasan 4-0 in the preliminary round then beat world ranked 52, Yang Zi from Singapore.[7] In the last 32 stage, Paul lost to Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov.[7]

Post-2012 Olympics[edit]

Paul Drinkhall married Joanna Parker, also a professional table tennis player and a multiple English champion, in August 2013.[8]

Drinkhall became only the second English player (after Carl Prean) to win a tournament on the ITTF World Tour Open circuit when he won the Spanish Open in April 2014.[9]

The following month he was part of the England men's team which clinched promotion to the top level of world table tennis at the World Team Championships in Japan.[10]

In June 2014 he reached a career high of 79 in the ITTF world rankings.[11]