Tom Jarvis is relishing pulling on the GB shirt for the first time in competition as he prepares for the European Games, which start on Friday.
Jarvis has been to the last two Olympics, as a reserve in Rio and a training partner in Tokyo, but has not before experienced competing under the British flag.
That will all change in Krakow, Poland, as he joins Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker, Charlotte Carey and Tin-Tin Ho in the squad.
Pitchford, Drinkhall, Jarvis and Walker will compete in the Men’s Team, while Pitchford and Drinkhall will also play in the Men’s Singles. Ho and Carey compete in the Women’s Singles, and Ho & Pitchford are in the Mixed Doubles competition, where the gold medallists will qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Jarvis and Pitchford have been preparing at a training camp in Nottingham, with Tobias Rasmussen of Denmark and Senegalese top-100 player Ibrahima Diaw joining them to provide top-level practice. The rest of the GB squad joined them for the latter part of the camp.
National champion Jarvis said: “It’s amazing, it’s the first time I’ve got the full playing kit and I’m actually going to use it. I can’t wait. Being with Team GB is always a really special thing, so to actually get out and contribute on the field is going to be a great feeling.
“I just want to contribute as much as I can to the team, give good energy. We’ve got chances for medals. Of course, it’s difficult, there’s a lot of strong teams in Europe. We’re going with the aspiration that if we do everything right and perform well on the day then we can win a medal.
“Being part of Team GB brings so much more out of athletes and that’s a big advantage we can use and try to get on that medal table.”
Jarvis has been busy since winning the national title, including performing at the World Championships in Durban, where he lost in seven to Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
“I had a good match at the World Championships, unfortunately I didn’t get the result but there’s a lot of positives I can take to the European Games.”
Meanwhile, Pitchford and Drinkhall will make a little bit of history as two of only four members of Team GB to have competed at all three editions of the European Games since they were first held in 2015.
Pitchford said: “It’s great, I didn’t really know that. Obviously me and Paul have played at the last two and had some good results.
“It’s always good to represent Team GB, put the kit on and go out and fight for your country. Team GB’s got a great legacy in all major games and hopefully we can be part of winning medals for them.”
Pitchford, who also went out in a close match at the Worlds, to top-50 player Joao Geraldo of Portugal, added: “There’s a few things to work on, getting in finer details coming up to a competition and hopefully everything will click together when we get there.
“The last few months I’ve felt like I’m starting to find my game again. I had a close first match in South Africa which didn’t go my way but I felt like I played well – it was a bit of a tough draw first match. The last tournaments before that were positive.
“I’m feeling quite good, a little bit more relaxed at the start of the year when I wasn’t playing particularly well.
“Obviously, I’d love to be challenging for the medals. I don’t see why we can’t challenge in the team event and me and Paul in singles have always got a shot.”
The European Games draw takes place on Thursday.