David McBeath is determined to grasp the opportunity in front of him when he represents England at the World Team Championships in Chengdu, China, starting this week.
McBeath will compete alongside Liam Pitchford and Sam Walker and will experience his first matches at that level, having previously been an unused squad member at the 2018 edition of the Championships in Halmstad.
The event is going ahead in the midst of stringent covid restrictions in Chengdu, meaning the players will live and play within a covid-secure bubble which emulate the regulations used during the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year.
Among the arrangements made are several pre-tournament PCR tests for players and officials, while the ITTF has chartered special flights to take players to China from Dubai or Singapore. Players will also not have to quarantine at the end of the tournament.
McBeath said: “I’ve not had the opportunity to play in a team championship before and I’m looking forward to it.
“Obviously the covid stuff is pretty full-on, but Europe is fully open, so there’s more chance of getting covid before we go.
“The tournament is going ahead anyway, so it’s a good opportunity for me and I’d be silly not to take it. I’ve just got to grasp the opportunity and give it my best shot.”
McBeath has not represented England since before the pandemic, since when he has also undergone hip surgery. He last played on the world stage at two WTT events in the USA in May and has recently been training with the British para squad in Slovenia.
“I didn’t know I was going until a couple of weeks ago so it’s not the ideal preparation, but I played some good stuff in America and I feel good,” he said.
“My job is to step up and do my best to support Liam and Sam and get a few wins. Hopefully we will all stay fit and healthy and we can make the most of it.
“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity and, now I’ve been given one, I’ve got to try to take it with both hands.”
The World Team Championships start on Friday.