Hampshire ace Hannah aiming to make up for Delhi heartache

Hannah Hicks

Hannah Hicks

First published in Sport

Hampshire table tennis star Hannah Hicks is looking to avenge the bronze medal heartbreak of the Commonwealth Games four years ago in Delhi.

The 23-year-old has been selected once more to represent England in the team ping-pong event and will be using the defeat in India as a catalyst to reach the podium at the Glasgow Games this month.

In 2010, Hicks and her team-mates narrowly missed out on a bronze medal to Malaysia in a third place play-off – a result that left Hicks in tears.

After going 2-0 down, the women crawled back to 2-2 before the deciding match was lost in the fifth and final set.

Hicks won her match against Xiao Fan and is keen to ensure that her and the England team don’t come away empty handed this time around.

Finishing fourth was huge progress for England after they finished ninth in 2006, but Hicks doesn’t want to stop the development.

The team will have to negotiate past high quality teams like Singapore, Malaysia and India to have a chance of getting a medal.

“We have a very good team spirit and we’re feeling confident,” she said.

“This is the Holy Grail. I’ll be playing with the defeat in Delhi in the back of my mind because I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“The aim is to get on the podium and push ourselves hard.

“We’ll be up against the best teams in the world and I don’t doubt it will be very tough.

“As a group we need to show character and hopefully we can come out with an incredible result.”

Hicks first played table tennis in year seven at Test Valley School.

Her English teacher, Brian Dike, committed endless hours to encouraging her and helping her develop.

She’ll be playing with Dike and her family, parents Nigel and Rachael and older siblings Becki and Oliver, in her mind.

“I’ll be going hell for leather to get gold,” said Hicks. “I will be thinking about my family and the people that have helped me through my career.

“I have to thank them for helping me to get this far – they been a massive influence.”

Hicks and her team-mates are in action today from 9.30am in the preliminary rounds.

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