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You are in: Sports > Table Tennis > News

Syed joins Games training

12 July 2002

The three times Commonwealth men’s singles champion, Matthew Syed, joins Team England’s table tennis squad after returning from Japan.

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Matthew Syed: England's number one table tennis player

The 31-year-old, from Richmond Surrey, said, “I have got just eight days of very hard practice left and to fine tune my fitness before we go to Manchester for the Commonwealth Games. I have been playing okay in Japan and getting on miles better with my new bat.”

The former four times England national champion was upbeat about the England men’s chances: “The Games are a big opportunity for table tennis, which are included for the first time. Our men have been training well and are in high spirits. We have a good chance of winning the team gold and all of our boys could pick up medals in the singles. Terry Young and Alex Perry (the New Delhi 2001 Commonwealth Championships gold medallists) could win again in the doubles.”

However, he was less certain about his own prospects of becoming the first table tennis men’s singles gold medallist in a Commonwealth Games. Seeded number two, the backspin defensive Syed would be due to meet the former Chinese international and world number 10, Johnny Huang (Canada), seeded one, in the final.

“If we meet in the final I would do my best but I have never beaten Johnny, who is one of the top players in the world against defence. I have recently lost to him three times in Japan, where Johnny plays professionally.”

Syed will wait until after the Games to decide his future career: “I will see how I feel when the Games are over. Whatever happens, I will continue to be involved in table tennis, to which I owe so much. I probably will continue to play a bit, perhaps in international matches. It is unlikely that I will stand for Parliament at the next general election. I still enjoy journalism. But until the Games are over, I want to focus entirely on doing well in the table tennis.”

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