Queensbury's Stokes excited ahead of return to World Championship of Ping Pong
PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 January 2019
Queensbury man in action at Alexandra Palace this weekend
Queensbury’s Ashley Stokes believes he can make a good run at this weekend’s BetVictor World Championship of Ping Pong.
The popular event returns to Alexandra Palace in north London this weekend, with $20,000 on offer for the victor.
The last two tournaments have each produced a Chinese winner in last year’s Wang Shibo and 2017 victor Weihao Yan.
In fact China will have a minimum of eight players in the strong 64-player field.
British hopes rest with Milton Keynes two-time champion Andrew Baggaley, Chris Doran from Northampton, popular Scotsman Gavin Rumgay and Stokes.
And the Queensbury man, reckons he can play a major part in the chase for the top prize if he can overcome Russia’s Maxim Shrmyrev in a difficult pool.
“If you beat Maxim it puts down a marker for the tournament and you would be considered a contender as he’s one of the favourites,” said the Queensbury man.
“I would need an inspired performance to beat him. Just to progress through the group I need to be at my very best.
“It’s a tough group and every match is tough, that’s why it’s the world championships.
“I have a polish player first match so it’s about performing my best and letting the result take care of itself.
“I didn’t even manage to qualify for the last two years and before that I was a consistent last 32 player.
“It’s only going to get tougher as people play more and take the sport seriously, ping pong has so much growth potential.”
Also in action at the World Championship of Ping Pong are two-time runner-up Alexander Flemming, popular Philippine Richard ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez, Dutchman Martin Groenewold and Poland’s Filip Szymanski.
It looks set to be another entertaining edition of the ever-popular competition.
And at his first World Championship in three years, Queensbury’s Stokes will hope he can have a lengthy run in the competition.
*Tickets are still available at worldchampionshipofpingpong.net or on the day in person at Alexandra Palace.
You can also catch all the action on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena from 12pm on Saturday and Sunday.