GB Team - Felicity Pickard

Date and place of birth: 17/07/94, Wordsley

Home town: Burnley
Lives: Burnley
Family: mum Mandy, dad Will
TT Class: 6
Current world ranking: 13
TT Style: All round
International debut: 2011

Silver for @Th0masMatthews & Major (HUN) - they lose 3-0 to Korea in men's class 1 final; 8 medals for GB in Italy - well done GB!

About 6 days ago from GBParaTT's Twitter via Twitter Web Client

Felicity’s story

Having been keen on sport from an early age Felicity started playing table tennis in 2010 when she wanted to find a sport she could play competitively.  “I had started horse riding but the only equestrian sport in the Paralympics is dressage and I wanted to do more than dressage,” explains Felicity, who went on to try boccia and swimming, both of which failed to provide her with the challenge that she wanted. At the age of 14 she began volunteering to help other disabled people and having played table tennis on holiday she was asked to play while volunteering at Hyndburn table tennis club. The coach spotted her natural ability and Felicity had found a sport in which she could excel. “I have always wanted to achieve something,” says Felicity, “and I found I could do that with table tennis.”

She inherited her competitive nature from her father Will. “Even when we were just playing a board game at home he would never let me win,” says Felicity.

She made her international debut at the Czech Open in 2011 and was selected for the GB Para Table Tennis Team Performance Squad in April 2014. Born with cerebral palsy Felicity is training hard “to compete more with the girls in my class”. Last year she had the chance to play in international team events with Sandra Paovic, the Olympic table tennis player from Croatia who suffered a severe spinal injury in a car accident in 2009. She continues to benefit from advice from Paovic, who is in regular contact with Felicity.

“I didn’t want to think of myself as a disabled athlete,” admits Felicity, “and Sandra has helped me to come to terms with that and see it as a positive.  Sport sets me free from my disability.”

Felicity represented GB at the European Championships in 2013 and performed with great credit at her first major championships, fighting hard and narrowly failing to record a win in the group stages.

“Last season was a great learning curve,” she says, “and all the experience of the competitions and the training camps has given me an idea of the level I need to reach. The Europeans was a brilliant experience and I felt that I was playing my best table tennis. I wasn’t expecting to win - it was all about the learning curve. I had some very close matches considering the level of the girls I was playing and I was very happy with my performance.

“Going forward I hope to change those narrow losses into wins and my aim is to get into the top eight on the world ranking list and get through my group into the knockout stages of a factor 40 competition. That will give me confidence and then who knows how far I could go.”

Take 5 with Felicity:

Most admired sportsman - Will Bayley

Sporting event you would most like a ticket for - Wimbledon

Favourite sport - football (Felicity supports her local club Padiham and goes to as many home games as she can)

Three words that describe you best - stubborn, determined, competitive

Achievement you are most proud of - being selected to represent GB

and finally - Felicity was Volunteer of the Year for Burnley in 2010 and subsequently accompanied 24 disabled and disadvantaged children on the Journey of a Lifetime to Borneo

2014 Results:
Slovenia Open - group stages, women’s singles (class 6); group stages, women’s team (class 6-7)
Lignano Master Open, Italy - Group stages, women’s singles (class 6); group stages, women’s team (class 6-7)

Career Highlights:
2013: European Championships, Lignano, Italy: Group stages, women’s singles (Class 6)
2013: National champion (Class 6-7)