Charlotte Carey has already been to three Commonwealth Games events with Team Wales, but now she is about to broaden her horizons after being selected to represent Team GB at the European Games in Minsk.
The Abergavenny-born, Swedish-based Welsh champion received an early 23rd birthday present when she was named in a five strong British table-tennis team for Belarus.
She will make her Team GB debut along with Tin-Tin Ho at the Games, which take place between June 21-30.
Last year, Carey became the first Welsh woman to break into the world top 100 in the modern era, although she has since slipped to 152. The 20-year-old Ho, who plays for England, is currently ranked at 109.
Team GB are taking a squad of more than 100 athletes to Minsk to participate in 11 sports (archery, badminton, boxing, canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, judo, karate, shooting, table tennis and wrestling). As far as table-tennis is concerned, it will be a vitally important event for all players.
Table tennis is one of three sports, alongside archery and shooting, where there are opportunities to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The top three athletes in the men’s and women’s singles, plus the gold medal-winning teams, will all earn an automatic place at the Games in Japan next year.
The English trio of Liam Pitchford, Sam Walker and Paul Drinkhall will join Carey and Ho in the Belarussian capital. Table-tennis has grown from three places at the inaugural Games in Baku in 2015.
More than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete across 10 days in 200 different medal events in Minsk, which will be the last senior multi-sport event prior to next summer’s Olympic Games.
The Team GB delegation will be led by Chef de Mission, Paul Ford and supported by Deputy Chef de Mission, Laura Hanna.
Ford will act as Deputy Chef de Mission at Tokyo 2020 and Hanna, who has been part of the staff for the last five Games, will also be part of the wider Tokyo 2020 team.
“Minsk 2019 provides an important pathway towards Tokyo 2020 for sports. It is an exciting mix of athletes and I look forward to the second European Games and the performances that I’m sure will impress and excite in equal measure,” said Ford.
Carey will have plenty of Welsh team mates with her in Minsk with nine taking part in five other sports.
Lauren Price and Rosie Eccles, who qualified for the event via their performances at the 2018 European Championships in Bulgaria, will be seeking to add to the medals they won at the Gold Coast last year with Team Wales.
Price, 24, is looking to build on a superb year in 2018 which saw her rise to number three in the world at middleweight after she followed-up the gold she won for Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with bronze medals at the World and European Championships.
Eccles is looking to consolidate on the progress she made in 2018, which saw her take welterweight silver at the Commonwealth Games and reach the quarter-finals of the European Championships in Sofia.
Megan Barker and Jess Roberts will be team up in the women’s endurance, while Ethan Vernon, a schoolboy when he went to the Gold Coast with Team Wales last year, is included in the Men’s Road Race squad.
Rhys Williams, of the Weston club, was the only male athlete from Wales at last year’s World Championships and he will head to Minsk as part of a five strong Aerobic team.
The golden girl form the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, Natalie Powell, will be chasing more medals when she competes in the -78kg category.
Elena Allen and Ben Llewellin have both struck silver at the Commonwealth Games for Team Wales and will not only have more medals in their sights in the Olympc Skeet event, but also a place at next year’s Olympic Games.
BT Sport has secured the UK and Republic of Ireland rights to broadcast action from the European Games this summer and will provide daily, live coverage of the Games throughout each day of the competition.
Coverage across its TV channels will follow all of the Team GB athletes in action, switching between sports as the competition unfolds. Meanwhile, its BT Sport Extra red button service and digital platforms will provide live coverage of every discipline and competition.