By Paul Jones
Charlotte Carey has taken a big step towards making this year’s delayed Olympic Games by earning a place in the Great Britain table tennis squad for the qualifiers.
The Welsh No.1 – who is currently ranked 151 in the world – has been included in the maximum permitted four player squad for the European Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February.
Great Britain missed out on qualifying for the team event in an earlier qualification competition last January.
The squad comprises the top two Englishmen – Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall – and England’s No.1 woman, Tin-Tin Ho, as well as Carey.
Wales national coach Stephen Jenkins will oversee the women’s squad, while England men’s coach Gavin Evans will coach the men’s team.
The tournament has been moved from its original venue of Moscow and will now be played in Lisbon from February 10-14.
After the European qualifying competition, there will be a further chance for players who have not qualified to book their places in Tokyo via the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The World qualifier will be staged at Doha, Qatar, between March 16-19.
Depending on what happens in that tournament, a final batch of places could then be allocated via the world rankings.
Despite the lockdown of sport caused by the pandemic, Carey was able to compete in the Spanish Masters event in Madrid back in October.
The 24-year-old produced one of the best performances of her career by beating three players above her in the world rankings – including two in the top 80 – in reaching the tournament final.
— Table Tennis Wales (@walesTT) January 5, 2021
Carey was eventually beaten by world No.47 Bruna Takahashi, 4-3 and had to settle for the runners-up spot.
Now, she has the chance to take that form with her into the Olympic qualifiers in Portugal.
British Table Tennis Federation director of sport Simon Mills said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce the players for the delayed singles qualification tournament for Tokyo 2020.
“I’m confident that they will all give their best as they aim to secure their place at what will be one of the most highly anticipated Olympics ever.”