Big month ahead for GB stars Facey Thompson and Campbell

Stratford's Ashley Facey Thompson in action

Stratford's Ashley Facey Thompson in action - Credit: Archant

Two local table tennis players are preparing for international tournaments in May

Jane Campbell in action

Jane Campbell in action - Credit: Archant

An important month is coming up for two local table tennis stars as they prepare for next week’s Slovenia Open and various other tournaments coming up for Great Britain.

Stratford’s Ashley Facey Thompson and Newham’s Jane Campbell have both been included in a 14 strong squad for GB’s Para Table Tennis team.

They will both be involved in the Slovenia Open, which takes place between May 6 and 9 and is the first of three factor 40 tournaments for the GB squad in May.

With more than 400 competitors, including 10 current world champions, the Slovenia Open will be one of the most competitive tournaments of the season.

Ashley Facey Thompson shows off his skills (pic: Michael Loveder).

Ashley Facey Thompson shows off his skills (pic: Michael Loveder). - Credit: Archant

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It will not only provide a benchmark for the European Championships later in the year but also have a bearing on qualification for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

20-year-old Thompson picked up medals in Hungary and Italy in March and achieved one of the best wins of his career in Italy - beating the Ukrainian world number three Yuriy Shchepanskiy.

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His confidence is high and the youngster feels like he is earning the respective of his opponents now.

“Hungary helped a lot as it was good to have a successful tournament before the first factor 40 in Italy,” said Facey Thompson.

Jane Campbell alongside London 2012 partner Sara Head

Jane Campbell alongside London 2012 partner Sara Head - Credit: Archant

“When I played my first match I felt a bit under pressure and nervous but I got better as the tournament progressed and I carried that on in Italy.

“I feel like I have a base now in competitions and even if I am not playing well I still have a chance to do my best or get out of situations. I feel like I get respect from the other players and I am a threat now.

“There is a long way to go but I feel like I’m getting there slowly. I am going into the next three tournaments with the right attitude and energy on court and if that happens then I am sure I can do well and take my form from Hungary and Italy into Slovenia.”

Campbell, meanwhile, a medallist at the London Olympics in 2012, began the season with a bronze medal in the women’s class 3 singles in Italy and is hoping to build on that in Slovenia.

She said: “It was a positive start for me in Italy - I feel that I am improving and I feel stronger and more confident.

“Slovenia will be a very strong entry so it will be good to have the experience of playing players that I don’t see very often and I feel quite excited about it.”

Campbell will also be hoping for a successful tournament in the team competition with her London 2012 partner Sara Head, who has recovered from the infection that disrupted her winter training.

“It’s lovely to have Sara back training as it makes a big difference to me and how I feel about things,” added Campbell.

“The World Championships in China last year showed us how strong the other teams are and it has motivated us to improve. We can’t just play our same old game and hope - we know we have to do a lot more than that.”

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