As an athlete it is not enough anymore just to be good at your chosen sport. You are also expected to be able to talk eloquently to the world’s media and answer any question you may be asked – no matter how random or seemingly unrelated to what you do.
Some athletes enjoy media work and others simply accept that it is part of the job. In the UK where football rules it is hard for a sport like Para table tennis to make an impact and it is a credit to our athletes that every media opportunity they are given is maximised and journalists leave with an impression of a professional, focused and media-friendly team.
Today is the final opportunity for the media to talk to the team before they start competing on Thursday and at 1:30pm all the athletes are gathered on the decking outside the GB apartment block as requested. Even more impressive is that they are all wearing the right kit – athletes are exceptional people but their talents don’t always include reading and/or remembering instructions.
The interviews take place just outside the Athletes’ Village Media Centre and every athlete is interviewed at least once. Will, Rob, Paul Davies, Jack and Kim are interviewed live by Nick Hope for BBC Sport’s social media channels and even a request for an impromptu demonstration of no-table tennis doesn’t faze our heroes. Have we gone viral? Suffice to say that the team has enhanced its reputation again and made us proud.
Later, with the mountains overlooking the Village shrouded in threatening looking clouds and darkness about to fall it is time for one of psychologist Tim’s fiendish quizzes. It is a given that athletes are competitive at everything but the GB Para table tennis players take it to a new level. Heaven help Jeremy Vine if we ever enter a team on Eggheads.
The quiz does confirm two things: 1) Our players will fight for every point – on and off the table – and 2) Will Bayley hates to lose.
As for the winners – Aaron, Guy and Matt are truly in A League of Their Own.