So I have been incredibly busy since last posting…many apologies for the delay and sorry if people have been waiting on me to get back to them!
Last month started with three solid weeks of table tennis on the road, beginning with a week out in Slovakia at Sasa Dragas' new purpose built table tennis training centre in Prievidze. It was a perfect place to knuckle down and build my fitness back up as my bedroom was literally 5 seconds walk away from the playing hall and therefore the sessions could be tailored for me to be able to train more than my body can normally manage! One can even go and do service practice at half past midnight if one feels like it. We were also again under the auspices of Zvonimir Korencic, the long-time coach of many top European players. Needless to say, it was a shattering week and, followed by another week in Sheffield before the Italian Open, I think I may have overdone it a little bit...
Italy was my first competition since Rio and, although I was no.1 seed, I had no real expectations and I think my relative lack of tournament match practice showed a little bit, especially in the group stages. I think I went 1-0 down in every match I played so I am particularly pleased with how I was able to mentally grind things out despite not being at my best neither physically nor technically. In the quarter final, I was 3-7 down before winning 11-7 in the final set, going on to eventually lose in the semi-final to someone who knows my game better than anyone – my GB team mate Paul K. Although it would have been nice to win, there is nobody I would have rather lost to and, considering the stage I am at with my training, I am more than satisfied with the start to the season! We have much more important tournaments coming up later this year and we are definitely only going to get stronger as the season progresses.
Before reaching home, me, Aaron, Will & Billy played in the Table Tennis England event in Nottingham. Congrats to Aaron for winning but I'd just like to say that I really enjoyed the experience and appreciated the opportunity to play again even if, by this point, my body wasn't able to do it justice!
Next up, we are targeting the Slovenian Open in May and then the World Team Championships in Slovakia in which me, Paul & Martin have a very real chance of doing well. However, in the meantime, we have our National Championships next weekend in Grantham and I am back to the daily grind flitting between Plymouth and Sheffield and seeing whether my legs can keep up! Thanks everyone for the support and fingers crossed...!
|May:||Slovenian training camp|
|Slovakia training camp|
|World Team Championships – Slovakia|
|Aug:||Slovenia training camp|
|Sep:||European Championships – Slovenia|