I will take the Palace by storm, says Stokes
SPORT ASHLEY Stokes is looking to move up the rankings in the World Championship of ping pong.
Burnt Oak-based Stokes, 26, begins his title assault at Alexandra Palace today.
Defending champion Andrew Baggaley is favourite but Stokes aims to eclipse his previous best in the annual tournament.
He said: “I’d love to win it and that’s the ultimate aim.
“But if I reached the quarter -finals — which means winning four games — I would be over the moon with that.
“It would guarantee me automatic qualification for next year’s event which is very important.
“I’ve reached the last 32 before so it’s all about raising the bar.”
Stokes will only discover who he faces in the first round on the eve of the competition. But he says he is feeling the pressure from his biggest critic — himself.
“I’ve had to qualify previously so it was hard to prepare,” he said. “Having got through this time around has meant I’ve had plenty of time to practise.
“And although that will help me it does put more pressure on myself to perform and win games.” Stokes, a former European Maccabi Games champion, hopes his meticulous planning can reap the rewards.
He said: “I feel in good form and my preparation has been spot on. Now there will be a step up in quality but I feel in a good place.”