Table Tennis: Douglas back in limelight

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The Independent Online
DESMOND DOUGLAS returns to the international limelight at the age of 38, with England having good chances of medals in four events, as Birmingham hosts the biggest European table tennis championships ever, writes James Leigh.

More than 400 competitors from 46 countries will participate. Douglas should make the most sentimental headlines when the local hero who won the European Top 12 title and a record 11 English national titles, seeks to recapture some of his former glories in the men's singles next week. But it is the team events, starting today, which offer England most hope of success.

The men are seeded to reach the final and the women the semi-finals. However, the women should reach the final too. A court case means that the second-seeded Netherlands will be minus the European singles champion, Bettine Vriesekoop, and the English Open champion, Mirjam Hooman. They failed to overturn their national association's decision not to pick them after a long feud.

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