Paul_DrinkhallJanuary 15 - Britain's young table tennis talent faces probably its biggest test to date later this month at the English Open ITTF Pro-Tour Major in Sheffield.

Twenty-nine of the country's best young players, including 21-year-old England number one Paul Drinkhall (pictured), have been selected for what is one of the sport's most exciting events.

"This is without doubt the youngest group of players to have played at these championships for a very long time, with an average of age less than 21," said chairman of the selectors Peter Charters.

"We've made the selections with the future in mind and there's no reason why some of them could not reach the very top."

The English Open was voted the best ITTF Pro Tour table tennis event in 2009.

First to sign in for next week's tournament were world champions China, who have promised to send their top players including men's world number one Ma Long and women's number one Geo Yan.

Not far behind were leading players from South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"To have the world's best players here and the chance to watch them, and even to have a chance to play against them, is an opportunity we could not afford to miss out on," added Charters.

The English Open gets under way at the English Institute of Sport from January 26 and finishes on January 30.

England squad: Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford, Darius Knight, Gavin Evans, Chris Doran, Mathew Ware, Damien Nicholls, David McBeath, Richard Andrews, Sean Cullen, Tom Maynard and Alim Hirji.

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