Irish king Gavin Maguire is fighting for fitness ahead of Ulster Open
Irish champion Gavin Maguire is facing a race against time to compete in the Douglas Huston Ulster Open Table Tennis Championships in Lisburn Rackets Club, which begin tomorrow.
Dubliner Maguire is keen to grab honours in his adopted province, in his second year as Active Clubs Co-ordinator for Table Tennis Ulster, but yesterday he was still confined to a hospital bed in Germany having been laid up with a virus after playing for his professional club, Medizin Magdeburg, at the weekend.
In contrast, multiple Scottish champion Gavin Rumgay is fighting fit and determined to land the Men's Singles title, having entertained at many Irish tournaments but never taken a major singles title.
Local ace Ashley Robinson, from Clogher, home temporarily from full-time training in Sweden and recently playing for Saint Louis in the French National League, will have other thoughts. He hopes to repeat his victory over the No.1 Scot at the Commonwealth Championships in India when Robinson, Paul McCreery, Zak Wilson and Owen Cathcart took team bronze medals for Northern Ireland.
Add top Irish ace McCreery and the dynamic young Ulster pair of Wilson and Cathcart, and the Ulster Open has the ingredients of a superb event.
Ulster's Emma Ludlow joins Katie McGlone and Mia O'Rahilly Egan (both Leinster) on the Irish team at the Women's European Championships qualifier in Bosnia this weekend.
That paves the way for Irish champion Ashley Givan (QUB) to lead the Women's Ulster Open entry with main opposition from another Ulster favourite, Hannah Lynch Dawson, and UK School Games 2015 champion Rebecca Finn (Down High School).
Play starts tomorrow at 5.30pm.