Baggaley’s Olympic dream

Andrew Baggaley wins the World Ping Pong title
Andrew Baggaley wins the World Ping Pong title

Andrew Baggaley has his sights firmly set on Olympic table tennis qualification in Rio de Janiero after retaining his World Ping Pong Championship on Sunday.

The 32-year-old defended match point against Russian Maxim Shmyrev to come back and win 3-2 at Alexandra Palace to retain his title.

Andrew Baggaley with his World Ping Pong title

Andrew Baggaley with his World Ping Pong title

“It was amazing, and a fantastic event,” he said. “The final was an epic. From 1-0 down, he went 2-1 up and had match point to win the tournament, but I turned it around.

“He had another match point, but I won the set - and suddenly I got cramp! I’ve never had that before!

“It was tougher this year than last. I had harder matches, but the level is increasing each year.

“Everyone is training really hard, and gunning to win the title I’m really proud of myself to retain the title.”

A different discipline to traditional table tennis, ping pong uses sandpaper-covered bats, rather than rubber.

Baggaley added: “The game is slower, rallies are longer and it’s really entertaining for the crowd.”

In six weeks, Baggaley will be competing in the National Table Tennis Championships, sparking the start of a busy period as he looks to be part of his second Olympic Games in Brazil this summer.

“I’m going to have a little break, but I’m going back into table tennis with the National Championships in six weeks time,” said Baggaley. “I’ve won it a few times, I’ve won it in my teens, 20s but not my 30s so I’m aiming for that.”