Table tennis star eyes London 2012 showdown
Eight years ago Andrew Baggaley was compared to footballer Michael Owen - and despite also drifting out of the public consciousness recently, the Milton Keynes table tennis ace insists his London 2012 dream lives on.
The countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games will reach the two years to go mark on July 27, and with the former Stantonbury Campus pupil currently sitting 214th in the table tennis world rankings.
Baggaley was just 19 years old when his comparisons with fellow teenager Owen hit the headlines, following the city star's double gold medal win at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
However, while on paper Baggaley might have failed to match up to Owen's high-profile career, the Greenleys Table Tennis Club star admits the road to Olympic gold is a marathon not a sprint.
"I have been training hard for a long time now and London 2012 is always in my thoughts," said Baggaley. "I feel like I'm developing well and my game is really starting to come on.
"But there are a lot of events to come between now and London so it is important that I keep developing and moving up the world rankings and getting good results in other big tournaments before I think too much about London.
"Of course it's the biggest one and it will be in England. My world ranking is not as high as I think it should be because I have not been playing in as many international tournaments as I need to.
"But I'm looking to do that now and really build up some experience for London. I have beaten people in the top 50 before so I know I'm capable of good results."
Baggaley is currently enduring a heavy spell of training ahead of a hectic autumn period which will see the now 27-year-old heading to the European Championships in September and Commonwealth Games a month later.
Baggaley backed up his 2002 double gold with a silver in Melbourne four years later and has warned it would be a brave man to bet against him being back on the podium before 2010 is out.
"If I perform to my best at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games then there is absolutely no reason why I can't get a medal," he said.
"I'm working very hard at the minute and training really heavily so hopefully that will all pay off. I know I can beat virtually anybody on my day - hopefully I can show that in the Czech Republic and then Delhi."
Lloyds TSB are a proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and supporter of Team GB on their journey to London 2012. See www.LloydsTSB.com/London2012