Italian job for table tennis squad

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Sheffield’s Kim Daybell flew out to Italy on Wednesday with the GB Para table tennis squad ahead of the European Championships, which get underway tomorrow.

The squad, which also includes London 2012 medalists Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin as well as upcoming star Ashley Facey-Thompson, was announced at a press meeting at their EIS training base last Thursday.

World number eight Daybell, who is studying for a degree in medicine at Leeds University, is looking to improve on his past performances to re-establish himself in the top five rankings.

The 21-year-old has already savoured success in the city located just off the Adriatic Sea Coast after he won a bronze medal at the Lignano Masters Open earlier in the year.

And the European Championships, as ever, come with added incentive, as the winner of the tournament automatically qualifies for next year’s World Championships.

“Preparation for the Europeans has been intense this time for me as it coincided with the start of the academic year.” Daybell said.

“However, training has been going well and I feel confident I will be able to go and perform to the best of my abilities.”

He added: “I will look to this year’s European Championships and the World Championships in 2014 and try to better my previous performances at these events.”

Bayley, McKibbin and Facey-Thompson moved to Sheffield so they could train on a full time basis at the EIS facility. McKibbin, current world number 12, moved to Sheffield from London and said: “The facilities in Sheffield are just perfect.

We all moved to Sheffield so we could train here full time and it has everything that we all need and they have definitely helped us with our preparation for this tournament.