Don’t miss your chance Olympic stars

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DON’T miss your chance to see international table tennis close up later this month.

Great Britain are taking on Australia at Preston Guild Hall on Monday, July 23rd, as both countries wind up their preparations for the London Olympics.

The Aussies have chosen Preston as their training camp ahead of the Games, and they are rounding off their stay with a full-blown match against the best of British.

The full GB Olympic squad of Paul Drinkall, Liam Pitchford and Andrew Baggeley in the men’s team, and Joanne Parker, Kelly Sibley and Na Liu for the women, will all be in action in a match which will follow the Olympic Games team format, meaning 10 games will be played in total.

Tickets cost £8 for adults, and £5 for juniors (Under-16s), and are now available at the Guild Hall box office (08453 442012).

In fact, it isn’t only the Australian table tennis team which has based itself in Preston, as the USA team is also going to be present in the city.

The Americans will not be playing in the Guild Hall match, as they have only recently arranged to base themselves in the city, although their players will be presented to the crowd.

But they will practice and train alongside the Australian team at UCLan’s new Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, in Marsh Lane, on Saturday, July 21st, and Sunday, July 22nd, with the public allowed to watch for free from 10 a.m. until noon, and 2 - 4 p.m. on both days.

Preston Table Tennis Association chairman Jim Clegg, who has made the visits of both international teams possible, and who is also the chief organiser of the Guild Hall match, said: “It is a real coup to get two big international teams coming to Preston.

“We have staged three international matches in the city in the past three years, making Preston the prime location for such matches in this country.

“And we are sure the match against Australia at the Guild Hall will again produce high-quality table tennis and great entertainment for those who come along.

“I urge sporting fans from across the North West not to miss such an opportunity, and buy their tickets now.”