WALES’ number one table tennis player has been placed on standby for the Olympic Games in London later this month.
Naomi Owen, from Llandrindod Wells, who is ranked fourth in Britain, has been put on standby for the Olympics and is now mentally preparing herself in case any of the current team withdraw.
Joanna Parker, Kelly Sibley or Na Liu are currently Team GB women’s table tennis representatives, but Owen has now been confirmed as the first reserve and will step in should any of the trio be ruled out of London 2012 through injury.
Owen said: “Obviously it wouldn’t be great if one of them got a bad injury and wasn’t able to play, but I have got to be ready mentally to step in if that was to happen.
“I will be there supporting them backstage but will also be practicing with them so if they need a training partner I will be there,” said Owen. “I will do anything to help them progress.
“We will keep pushing each other for years to come and know that we can beat each other on any given day, so I was a little disappointed not to make the squad.”
The 24-year-old has won eight national singles titles, but narrowly missed out on the initial squad when it was announced in May.
Owen already boasts tournament experience having represented Wales at the 2002 Commonwealth Games but the London Olympics represents her first chance to represent Britain.
Owen remains philosophical, and said: “I hope to have a great learning experience but at the same time it is just great being part of the London Olympics.”
Owen is training with the team while at the back of her mind preparing for a potential 11th hour call-up.
However the former Llandrindod Wells High School student would be Team GBs most vociferous supporter even if she is forced to sit out the summer sporting spectacular.
Owen is also looking to the future and has one eye on the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
She said: “I will be better prepared for Rio 2016 as I will have a feel for it and will know what to expect, and shouldn’t be surprised by anything if I make the games in four years.”
Owen added: “I was very excited to find out that I had been picked as a possible placement because I get to take in the atmosphere and experience and feel what it is like.”