From the depths of a semi-final defeat to a resounding bronze medal success, Tom Jarvis insisted England men’s table tennis team can hold their heads high at Birmingham 2022.
Defeat to Singapore in their last four contest denied the hosts a chance at gold but they put that disappointment behind them in style with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Nigeria.
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Games debutant Jarvis teamed up with veteran Paul Drinkhall to get the team off to a perfect start with a whitewash in the opening doubles rubber over Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo.
The 22-year-old then watched on as Liam Pitchford got the better of Quadri Aruna 3-1 before Drinkhall put on a masterclass against Omotayo to secure the final podium spot.
And while Jarvis admitted there was some lingering frustration over their semi-final defeat, the national singles champion was proud of the way the trio bounced back at the NEC.
“It was really hard coming back from yesterday, I don’t think we have ever felt that bad as a team losing match but I’m just proud of the lads today,” he said.
“I’m proud of Liam for going out and taking down their number one and I think we can all walk away with our heads held high now. We just said we had to go out and enjoy it.
“There was a lot of stress yesterday and I think all of that was gone today. We just went out and showed our level, we could win a gold medal but that didn’t happen.
“We’re still over the moon to walk away with bronze. It’s still there in the back of our mind what could have been, but we’d have felt much worse coming away with a fourth place.
“The fans have been amazing. The hall has been booming every day and it’s so fun as an athlete to come here and perform in front of that. That’s what we get up every morning and train for.
“I’ve grown up with Liam and Paul, they were my idols when I was a little kid. I’ve got photos with them when I went to see them on the days, they were training.
“Now to be standing alongside them on the medal podium is a really proud moment.”
Jarvis is not done yet as he still has the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles to come in Birmingham and he hopes his first Games medal can be the springboard for more success.
“I think I need a day off,” he joked. “We’ve got doubles and mixed doubles still to come so we’ve just got to sit down later or tomorrow, re-group and go for it again.
“Obviously, we have that bronze medal behind us now, there’s no pressure. We can just go out, as there’s no stress, and have some fun. We can do great things so hopefully more of that.”
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