Charlotte Bardsley set to mix it with world’s best
Charlotte Bardsley is relishing the chance to learn from the world’s best players after being called up to the England squad for the Team World Cup in London next month – at the age of just 15.
The Stourbridge player will step out in front of thousands of spectators at the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, from February 22-25.
The tournament brings together the six continental championship-winning teams, plus the best finishers from the 2016 World Team Championships.
England have a host-nation place and will be among the underdogs, but Bardsley, who attends Heathfield School in Wolverley, believes they could cause some upsets.
She said: “I’m really happy to be called up and grateful to be given the opportunity. It’s 100% the biggest event I will have been to, on a whole other level from anything else.
“They are all really tough teams and none of them are going to be easy but we’re known for causing upsets, so hopefully we can get some good wins.”
Bardsley has been named in the England squad alongside Tin-Tin Ho, Kelly Sibley, Maria Tsaptsinos and Denise Payet.
It is a young team, with two other teenagers, and Bardsley is hoping to get a chance to feature in the matches as well as experiencing the event.
She added: “I’d really like to be able to watch some of the top players in the world and learn from what they do. I’ll be there supporting the team and you never know, I may get to play.
“I would be a bit nervous but it’s a home crowd, so they will be behind us and want us to do well.”
England could be drawn against the likes of China or Japan, the top two ranked teams in the world.
The other teams to qualify are Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Romania, North Korea, USA, Brazil, Egypt and Australia. They will be drawn in groups of three, with the top two going into the quarter-finals.
Tickets are available from www.tabletennisengland.co.uk/tickets