Rio’s lessons can aid Jarvis

Tom Jarvis in Rio.
Tom Jarvis in Rio.

Tom Jarvis has his sights set on Tokyo 2020 after his Rio Olympic experience came to an end.

He may not have stepped onto the field of play, but the Skegness teenager says he learned a lot from his role as Team GB reserve, helping the squad of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker deliver Britain’s best Olympic performance.

Drinkhall reached the last 16 – only the third Brit to do so, and the first since 1992 – while the team defeated higher-ranked France to set up a quarter-final against top seeds China.

And although they lost 3-0 to a team boasting three of the world’s top four, they won a set in every match, something no other country managed.

“I’ve been there absorbing it all and watching and trying to learn,” said 16-year-old Jarvis.

“This is not my time yet and I’ve still got a long way to go.

“With a bit more experience and a lot of hard work, hopefully it will be me playing in four years’ time.

“I felt honoured to be there, so I can’t really complain.

“I’ve done quite a lot of practising whenever they want to practise and doing whatever they needed to do.”

Jarvis has also been working hard behind the scenes to make his teammates feel as at home as possible.

He added: “After the France match I had to get them all pizza and I’ve been collecting their washing as well, anything to try to make the boys’ lives easier.

“I knew my place and was happy to do what I could.

“I’ve been the butt of the jokes most of the time, but quite a lot of the time it’s been brought on by myself, being young and naïve I guess I’ve been a bit slow at times.

“We had three weeks of working really hard and when it was all finished, I fell asleep at 7.30pm and next thing I knew it was 8.30am the next morning.”

Jarvis shared an apartment in the athletes’ village with the rest of the team and said mixing with some of the biggest stars in Team GB and beyond was an inspiration to him.

“I was just across from Michael Phelps at dinner and we saw Djokovic and Nadal, Jess Ennis-Hill.

“It’s been pretty surreal being with them every day,” he said.

“It’s motivated me a lot, to see what you can achieve after four years of hard work, it’s made me want to work even harder.”

Next on the agenda for Jarvis is a couple of weeks at home before he travels to Sweden, where he will be based at Halmstad TTC for the next year.