Two athletes with a learning disability will represent Great Britain at the 2013 Inas World Table Tennis Championships in Hong Kong this December, the UK Sports Association for people with a learning disability (UKSA) has announced.
Patrick Cox, aged 17 from Leicester, and Adam Thompson, aged 25 from Cheshire, are set to compete in the class 11 singles category for athletes with a learning disability and will take on athletes from across the globe in the hope of reaching the podium.
The Inas World Table Tennis Championships will be held on 11-19 December. Inas, for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disability, is a member of the International Paralympic Committee and is responsible for the international competition for athletes with intellectual disability.
Cox and Thompson’s participation at the championships has been made possible by Cathay Pacific Airlines supplying free flights for them and their coaches.
Ian Carpenter, national sport manager at Mencap Sport, said: “Patrick and Adam are two very promising young players and it’s exciting to see them competing for Great Britain in the World Championships. I'd like to say a big thank you to Cathay Pacific Airlines for their support. Without their offer of free flights it would have been too expensive to send a team to Hong Kong. I wish both players the best of luck in their training for the Championships.”
Thompson, currently top British male in his class, said: “I’m really delighted to be part of the team, it’s such a great opportunity to compete outside of Europe. Inas events like this are really important, without them there wouldn’t be any international class 11 competition - I just can’t wait to get out there now.”
Completing the team is English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) coaches Chris Turner and Shaun Newcomb. Newcomb, himself a former international player, has also been invited to take up the position as team manager.
Tracey McCillen, chief executive at UKSA, the national disability sports organisation and umbrella body in the UK for sport and people with learning disability, said: “UKSA has worked in close partnership with Mencap Sport and ETTA in a unique collaboration to enable these talented athletes to participate in the World Championships.
“These Championships represent a critical step for the athletes as they set their sights on selection for the 2015 Inas Global Games in Ecuador and 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.”