Chesterfield ace Liam Pitchford leads full-strength England at table tennis world cup

Chesterfield table tennis star Liam Pitchford (Pic: Paul Sanwell)
Chesterfield table tennis star Liam Pitchford (Pic: Paul Sanwell)

Liam Pitchford leads a full-strength England team for the ZEN-NOH ITTF Team World Cup, aiming to match their bronze medal performance when the event was held in London last year.

The Chesterfield athlete will compete alongside Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker and Tom Jarvis at the event in Tokyo from November 6 to 10.

The competition is the test event for the Olympic table tennis tournament and will be in the same venue as will be used in 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

England will be hoping to match their brilliant performance on home soil in last year’s competition, when, backed by a vocal crowd at the Copper Box Arena on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, they clinched bronze medals.

They were beaten in the semi-finals by Japan, who went on to be defeated in the final by China – who won both men’s and women’s competitions in London.

China will again be overwhelming favourites, but England, who qualified thanks to their quarter-final finish at the 2018 World Team Championships, have beaten many of the other competing nations in recent years.

The full line-up of qualifying nations is: China (Asia champions), Nigeria (Africa champions), Germany (Europe champions), Brazil (Pan Am champions), Australia (Oceania champions), Japan (hosts), USA (Pan Am runners-up), plus the World team Championship qualifiers South Korea, Sweden, England, Austria and Chinese Taipei.

The team qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics takes place in January.