Para table tennis star Ross Wilson is defending his title at the Commonwealth Games - and is excited to be doing it in front of a home crowd.
Wilson won on the Gold Coast four years ago and competes at the highest level for England again at this summer’s games in Birmingham.
“Having my friends and family there is so important to me,” said the 27-year-old from Minster, who competes in class 8-10. The table tennis starts with the team events on Friday, while Wilson begins the defence of his crown from Wednesday.
He added: “Part of the reason why I do this is I love sharing moments like this with my family and friends, and because they haven’t been able to experience that since London it is something they are really looking forward to and I can’t wait to perform for them.
“The home crowds in London were absolutely amazing and it was unlike any support I’ve ever experienced before. I can’t wait to see what the turnout in Birmingham is like and I think it is going to be good so it will be really nice to go through all that again and have that support which makes such a difference.”
Ten years on from London, Wilson has continued to enjoy success at the top level, despite encountering a number of injury issues. He overcame them to win at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and six months later the men’s class 8 world title, in between team bronze medals at the Rio and Tokyo paralympics.
He took gold in the Costa Brava Spanish Open in March and is confident of competing well again in Birmingham.
“I’ve worked as hard as I can and got myself in the best match-shape as I could,” he said.
“I’m feeling good and super excited to get started and play in front of a home crowd.
“Having that experience of four years ago is good and it is a challenge now to see if I can do it again. I feel quite confident in how I’m playing and I’m just looking to enjoy it and do my absolute best when I get there. Josh [Stacey] is playing really well and has improved so much. He is my doubles partner now and I hope he can do well as we are good friends, but we put that aside when we play and at these Games I’ll be focusing on myself."