Stratford's Facey Thompson feels at home in new training facility
PUBLISHED: 09:46 31 January 2019
With the 2020 Paralympic Games less than two years away, 2019 marks the start of Stratford table tennis star Ashley Facey Thompson's journey to Tokyo.
The 23-year-old now trains full time with the British Para Table Tennis Team at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and the team’s training hall has undergone a transformation designed to inspire the athletes as they begin the process of qualification for 2020 this year.
Using images of previous Paralympic medal winners and past results dating back to the first Games in 1960, the team now has an identity that connects everyone with what it represents and highlights the evolution of Para table tennis.
Bringing together the values important to the athletes and staff, the new-look training hall aims to maintain levels of commitment and pride in representing their country and motivate them to work hard to compete in the Paralympic Games in 2020 and the chance to add their names to the honours board.
“The new hall has made me feel like there is a home for the squad,” Facey Thompson said.
“Training six hours a day is hard and stressful but it’s great to come to training and work hard in this environment – it doesn’t feel boring or dull and makes you want to push on.”
Facey Thompson’s season begins with the Lignano Master Open in Italy in March and his major target this year is September’s European Championships in Sweden.
The qualification period for Tokyo finishes on March 31, 2020 and he will be looking to achieve the necessary world ranking in men’s class nine to secure his chance to be selected.
“I feel a little anxious, but I’m looking forward to the year,” he added. “Competing in Rio taught me how big a stage the Paralympics is and what I have to do to qualify for Tokyo.”