Table Tennis: Prean the worry for England

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND were relieved to finish 13th in the women's team event after 3-1 and 3-0 wins over France and the United States in the world championships here yesterday.

They will be delighted if the men, who recorded a 3-0 victory over the Italians, can finish ninth by winning twice more today.

Given that survival in the top groups of 16 was the limit of their original ambitions after the controversy that denied three England players the use of 'fast' glues, and that the men were subsequently left with only one fully fit player out of four, the achievements are good.

Nevertheless, there were some eyebrows raised when England's best woman, Lisa Lomas, the European silver medallist, was omitted from the 3-1 defeat against Sweden on Saturday.

That decision apparently had been taken because Lomas plays in the Swedish league and the home players know her wiles of backspin and float too well.

A more pleasing surprise was a first win in the championships for Nicola Deaton, the 16-year-old national junior champion, in the match against the United States, a team comprising four Asian-born players.

The major disappointment concerns Carl Prean. The national senior champion has played only one match, which he lost. Seeded 22nd, he is now doubtful for the men's singles, which start on Wednesday.

Unless there is a rapid improvement in his damaged wrist, Prean may be obliged to go home early.