Posted: 25.10.19 at 12:39 by The Editor
Grantham’s Gavin Evans is to coach the England and GB table tennis teams in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Gavin has been temporarily drafted in on secondment from Grantham College, initially until the end of January but with an option to continue through to the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
His first task will be to oversee England’s men’s team at next month’s International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Team World Cup, which is being held at the Olympic venue in Tokyo.
He will then work with the athletes before and during the Olympic Team Qualification tournament in Portugal in January and, should Team GB qualify, the Games themselves.
The former European youth champion is well known to the current England and GB athletes, having won team bronze alongside the current top two players, Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall, at the World Junior Championships in 2008.
Gavin, whose playing career was ended by a hip injury, said: “It’s an amazing opportunity. I’m happy to be asked to do the role and excited to go out into the world and see what we can do.
“I’ll be able to visit the players on an individual basis, to work on little things that can make a big difference in matches, but also to be able to bring them all together when we can for training together and building team spirit.
“The key priorities are first to perform at the Team World Cup and then to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and then hopefully when we qualify it will be a matter of doing some really good training and, as the boys have proved, when they come together and perform then on the day they can beat anyone in the world.”
Table Tennis England Director of Sport Simon Mills said: “Gavin is developing a good reputation in his coaching career and has already been working with our performance coaches through the Hopes and Aspire programme and therefore is in step with the principles and philosophies of the programme.
“We’re grateful to him for being available at relatively short notice and to Grantham College, who have been very accommodating in enabling this to happen.
“We are keen for English coaches to work with our elite players in the run-up to a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 and we believe this is a positive opportunity for all parties.”
Grantham College Vice Principal - Higher Education Dr Steven Peacock said: “We wish Gavin and the team every success with this endeavour, and are delighted to have a Grantham College colleague at the heart of Team GB’s Olympic plans.”