Table tennis star Mari Baldwin ready for another taste of elite level competition
After making her senior debut earlier this month, Mari Baldwin is looking for another taste of action.
By Oli Dickson Jefford, Sportsbeat
Okehampton table tennis ace Mari Baldwin is eager for another taste of elite-level action following a successful senior debut.
The 19-year-old is still technically a junior player but was called up to represent England at senior level for the first time earlier this year at the European Team Championship Qualifications in Croatia.
It was a successful campaign for Baldwin and the rest of the team, who qualified for the Sweden showpiece this September, and competing there is now one of her main targets for the rest of 2023.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “Not only because I was there, but because I contributed towards a 3-0 win over Israel, which was really nice - to not only go there but to go there and win.
“I enjoy the team aspect of international table tennis. It’s a bigger event and I think it was easy to get swept up in the idea that it was a big event, but it was nice to be able to do it with a team around and other people.
“It was also the first time doing it for my friend Jasmine [Wong], so it was nice to have someone I know really well also there.
A day to remember. 🙌
Thanks to all our @EntainGroup @TeamSportsAid athletes who attended today’s Parliamentary Reception in Westminster!
— Pitching In (@PitchingIn_) March 27, 2023
“Before the Team Championships in September, there’s the European Youth Championships in July and selections for that are going to be decided soon. Those are my two big events coming up - hopefully I get selected for them.”
Baldwin balances her burgeoning table tennis career with studying for a philosophy degree at the University of Nottingham and has received a huge boost to aid her sporting ambitions.
She is now one of 50 young athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.
Baldwin added: “This year I’ll be transitioning out of junior competition into senior, so it will be nice to have that support and be able to do international competitions to establish my ranking and position internationally.
“Then you can help the team and yourself - this support makes it so much easier to travel and do more.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more