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Team GB for Table Tennis

What is Team GB and how were the Team GB table tennis players selected for the 2012 Olympic Games?

Team GB Table Tennis

Team GB is the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team which competes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games.

There is only one Olympic team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Team GB.

All the individual sports which are included within the Olympic Games join together to become Team GB - the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team.


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The Olympic Movement

The Olympic Games

The three main parts of the Olympic Movement are...

  1. The International Olympic Committee
  2. International Sports Federations and
  3. National Olympic Committees

Additionally, the Olympic Movement includes the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games for each specific Olympics.

So let's take a quick look at each of these...

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) role is to lead the promotion of Olympism in accordance with the Olympic Charter which details the philosophy, aims and traditions of the Olympic Movement.

International Sports Federations (IFs) are the governing bodies that supervise a sport at international level ... so for table tennis that's the International Table Tennis Federation. There are currently 35 IFs in the Olympic Movement.

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) represent and regulate the Olympic Movement within each country and they consist of a member of each of the Olympic sports. So, for example, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the NOC of the United States, whilst the British Olympic Association (BOA) is the NOC of the United Kingdom. There are currently 205 NOCs recognized by the IOC.

Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) are the temporary committees responsible for the organisation of a specific Olympic Games. OCOGs are dissolved after each Olympic Games, once their final report is delivered to the IOC.


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Team GB Table Tennis

Team GB Table Tennis

So, as we now know, the British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was formed in 1905 and originally consisted of seven National Governing Body members.

However, the BOA now consists of 33 National Governing Bodies which represent each Olympic sport (both summer and winter sports).

So Team GB is selected and managed by the BOA in conjunction with the national governing bodies of each sport, which in the case of table tennis is The British Table Tennis Federation (BTTF).

The British Table Tennis Federation is made up of the four home nations and was formed to select the Great Britain squad for the Olympic Games. The English Table Tennis Association (ETTA - now known as Table Tennis England) was the lead nation and its Chairman, Alex Murdoch, was also the Chairman of the The British Table Tennis Federation.

Remember, there is only one Olympic team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Team GB. There isn't an England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland team.


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Team GB Table Tennis

Team GB Table Tennis

There was a very complicated system of qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games table tennis events, but no players from Great Britain qualified on merit.

However, at each Olympic Games, a few places are reserved for home nation players (if they do not otherwise manage to qualify) so that there will always be a local interest in each sport.

So, as London is the host city of the 2012 Olympic Games, there were places reserved for Team GB players as they did not manage to qualify in the normal way.

But ...

To take up those Host Nation places, players must have the backing of the BOA ... and this backing was in doubt until the beginning of March 2011.

The concern of the BOA was that the players might not be able to mount a creditable challenge, and they also wanted assurances from the British Table Tennis Federation that a lasting legacy would be acheived.

So, following detailed discussions with the British Table Tennis Federation, on 4 March 2011 the BOA finally confirmed that Team GB would utilise the Host Nation places in order to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games table tennis competition.


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BOA Confirms Team GB TT Places

BOA chief executive and Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt said:

"We are very pleased to confirm that Team GB will be represented in both the singles and team table tennis events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The British Table Tennis Federation has demonstrated to us that they have laid solid foundations to maximise the opportunity of competing at a Home Games and developed programmes to ensure a strong long term legacy for the sport.

British Table Tennis has proven to us that the young squad of players are capable of delivering a credible performance on the field of play in 2012.

In winning the silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, England's men finished above three nations who competed in the last Olympic Games in Beijing.

Real progress is being made in elite performance, there are now four British players - two male, two female - ranked in the top 200 in the world compared with none prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Table tennis is a very accessible and affordable sport for people of all ages from all backgrounds.

This combined with the "London 2012 factor" and the successful programme of innovative initiatives developed by the British Table Tennis Federation to get people involved with table tennis at grass roots level, promises to have a big impact on participation and leave a tangible legacy for the sport."


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Team GB Places

The Olympic Games table tennis events consisted of Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Men's Team Event and Women's Team Event.

But the number of players from each NOC was limited to a maximum of three men and three women, so Team GB table tennis had six players in total.

One male and one female were eligible for the singles events, and they were joined by two others to make up teams of three for the men's team event and women's team event.


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Selection of Players for Team GB

The selection of players for Team GB table tennis was based on a Selection and Appeals policy which was formulated in the second half of 2011.

This policy was then agreed by the BTTF Board and the BOA.

When the policy was agreed, potential players had to sign a document confirming that they accepted the criteria.


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Initial Selection of Players for Team GB

On 8 August 2011, the British Table Tennis Federation published an initial "long list" of 16 players who would be considered for selection to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games.

This "long list" would be shortened on 1st February 2012 to become a "short list" before the final team selection of three men and three women would be made in May 2012.

So it was up to the 16 players to prove to the selectors that they deserved their place in the British Olympic Table Tennis Team.

The players who were on the "long list" and were considered for selection to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games were...

 

  • Kelly Sibley
  • Joanna Parker
  • Hannah Hicks
  • Naomi Owen
  • Na Liu
  • Emily Bates
  • Alice Loveridge
  • Charlotte Carey

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Short List of Players for Team GB

On 1 February 2012, the British Table Tennis Federation published their "short list" of 10 players who would be considered for selection to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The final team selection of three men and three women would be made in May 2012 after all the Olympic qualification tournaments have taken place.

The players who were on the "short list" and were considered for selection to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games were...

 

  • Kelly Sibley
  • Joanna Parker
  • Naomi Owen
  • Na Liu

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Automatic Qualification for Team GB?

Although table tennis players from Team GB had the "luxury" of being awarded Host Nation places at the 2012 Olympic Games, they could also try to qualify in the same manner as all other players. However, due to their low world rankings, this was an unlikely scenario.

But, from the 11-15 April 2012, the maximum of three men and three women were entered into the European Qualification Tournament held in Luxembourg.

Team GB nominated Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford, Andrew Baggaley, Kelly Sibley, Joanna Parker and Na Liu.

The top eleven men and eleven women at the tournament claimed their Olympic places, but unfortunately none of the 6 Team GB players managed to secure any of those places.

The final chance for Team GB players to gain automatic qualification would be at the Final World Qualification Tournament from 10-13 May 2012 in Doha, Qatar.


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Final World Qualification Tournament

The final chance for automatic qualification for Team GB table tennis players came at the Final World Qualification Tournament from 10-13 May 2012 in Doha, Qatar.

Unfortunately none of the Team GB players managed to qualify in their own right, so they all had to rely on a nomination for the Host Nation places.


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Host Nation Places Announced

On 22 May 2012, the Host Nation places for Team GB table tennis players were announced by the British Table Tennis Federation.

Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker were nominated to play in the men's and women's singles respectively and they were joined in the team events by Andrew Baggaley, Liam Pitchford, Kelly Sibley and Na Liu.

Paul Drinkhall Team GB Table Tennis Paul Drinkhall

 

Liam Pitchford Team GB Table Tennis Liam Pitchford

 

Andrew Baggaley Team GB Table Tennis Andrew Baggaley

 

Joanna Parker Team GB Table Tennis Joanna Parker

 

Kelly Sibley Team GB Table Tennis Kelly Sibley

 

Na Liu Team GB Table Tennis Na Liu

 


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MORE PAGES ABOUT
TABLE TENNIS AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
For more information about table tennis at the Olympic Games, take a look at my other articles...

Olympic Games

2004 Olympic Games - Athens, Greece

2008 Olympic Games - Beijing, China

2012 Olympic Games - London, England

2016 Olympic Games - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

 

Other Major Tournaments

World Championships

 

ITTF World Tour

 

World Cup

 

European Championships

 

Commonwealth Games

 

 

 

See Who Performed Best

World Rankings

 

Table Tennis Events Calendars

 

Table Tennis Officials


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