Welsh table tennis continued its strong showing at the 2022 Commonwealth Games as both women’s doubles pairs progressed to the last 16 and Joshua Stacey booked his place in the men’s singles classes 8-10 gold medal match.
Wales is better known for its pursuits on the rugby pitch rather than at the table, but that may be about to change after the principality’s pursuits in Birmingham.
An agonising fourth place in the women’s team event earlier in the week may have led to tears and broken hearts at the time, but it set the tone that Wales were not here to just make up the numbers.
And Anna Hursey, Charlotte Carey, and Chloe Thomas Wu Zhang have all dusted themselves down to make a tilt at the women’s doubles, alongside Lara Whitton.
“The improvement has been immense,” said Thomas Wu Zhang. “Especially through the last four years which have been so hard for everyone.
“We’ve definitely made massive improvements so I’m really happy, it’s been the best Games for me and for the team.”
This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Thomas Wu Zhang, 28, and Whitton, 18, emerged 3-2 victors in a hard-fought contest against Sophie Gauthier and Katherine Morin.
They were looking to join Carey, 26, and Hursey, at her second Games despite being just 16, who beat Christy Bristol and Laura Sinon of Seychelles 3-0 in a dominant performance.
It was a sign that things are going well in Wales, particularly with a crop of youngsters coming through.
It’s great to have the young ones coming up now and pushing the older ones,” smiled Thomas Wu Zhang. “It’s given me a bit more fire in my belly for the next one.”
For Whitton, her first Games experience could not be going better and has given her the hunger to be back at major multi-sport Games in years to come.
“It’s been amazing,” beamed Whitton. “It’s been a bit insane really.
“It’s my first Games so coming out of the team event and then having to play doubles again it was quite tough but it was nice playing with Chloe, she’s an experienced player.
“I’ve made the most of the experience.
“It’s opened my eyes and made me think. I didn’t play the singles and now I’m thinking next time I want to be playing singles.
“It’s definitely motivating.
“You come here and think it’s like a usual competition but everything from the show courts to the food hall, everything is so different.”
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