Stourbridge’s Charlotte Bardsley was cock-a-hoop to reach the table tennis main draw at the Commonwealth Games.
The 20-year-old sailed through Group 8 of the preliminary round to reach the business end of the women’s singles competition on Team England debut.
Bardsley has successfully bounced back from a heavy defeat to Wales in the quarterfinals of the team competition to show some of her best form in her own backyard.
“I feel so happy right now,” she said. “I’ve worked hard for this.
“I’m really proud to have won my group and get into the main draw at my first Commonwealth Games.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Bardsley was untroubled in an opening clash with Trinidad & Tobago’s Rheann Chung that she won in straight games.
She had to work a little harder to get past Cypriot Foteini Meletie, losing the first game 12-10 but took control from the second to prevail 4-1.
Bardsley said of her opponents: “I know they play in Europe so I knew I couldn’t underestimate them.
“I did a lot of video analysis before the matches as I knew this was a big chance for me and I wanted to show everyone the level I can play at.
“I’m feeling positive because of the home crowd, that gave me a big boost. I feel I’m playing well; I’ve not lost a singles match yet. I just need to get going.”
Bardsley was also buoyed by the presence of legendary Birmingham-born British table tennis player Desmond Douglas MBE, who cheered her on in the crowd at the NEC.
“I didn’t know he was here until the end, and I was thinking ‘he’ll be telling me what I should have done differently!’ It’s great he’s here, he’s one of my biggest role models and worked with me for a long time. I’m grateful he’s come.”
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