Skegness table tennis star stunned at Rio Olympics call-up

Skegness teen Tom Jarvis in action at the national championships in March EMN-160606-175428002
Skegness teen Tom Jarvis in action at the national championships in March EMN-160606-175428002

Rising table tennis star Tom Jarvis is preparing for the biggest learning curve of his life at the Rio Olympics this summer.

The 16-year-old Skegness star has been selected as travelling reserve for Team GB.

He will act as back-up to the squad of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker in the team event in Brazil.

And while the Skegness Grammar School student does not expect to see any action – he would only become eligible in the event of a serious injury – he is relishing his chance to play his part in Team GB’s quest for success.

“It’s pretty unbelievable, to be honest. It took a while to sink in and was a bit of a shock at the start,” he said of his call-up.

“It’s every athlete’s dream to go to the Olympics and I’m thrilled.

“Every tournament you go to, you want to play, but my place is as the youngster in the team, to learn, and hopefully by 2020 or 2024 it will be my chance to play. It’s just a learning environment this time.

“My aim is to learn as much as I can and help the team perform as well as they can.”

Jarvis, who has represented England at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, is confident the three senior players can build on their success at the World Team Championships in Malaysia this year, when they won bronze medals for England.

He sees no reason why Team GB cannot be in the shake-up for a podium place in Rio.

“We did it at the Worlds, so maybe – it’s not impossible,” he said.

“If all the boys play well and we don’t get China in the draw, you never know.”

He is also looking forward to the experience of being in the athletes’ village.

“I’ve Googled the athletes’ village and it looks pretty good,” he said.

“I’ve heard a lot of people speak about it and how overwhelming it is, and I’m not really sure what to expect. But I’m pretty sure it will be amazing.”

Jarvis is currently taking his GCSEs and will link up with the squad at several pre-Olympic training camps before travelling to South America.