Ryan Henry Relishing Elite Competitions

Table tennis star Ryan Henry reckons rubbing shoulders with triple Paralympic medallist Ross Wilson is helping to accelerate his rapid rise to the top of the sport.

Ardrossan’s Henry, 23, claimed singles silver and doubles bronze at the International Table Tennis Federation Para US Open in Texas earlier this summer.

Henry dropped just a single set on his surge to the final, where he came up against a familiar face, and then world number two, in Wilson.

He may have gone down 3-0 in the all-British final but the experience outweighed the result.

“It was a really good learning opportunity to have a pressure free game against Ross,” said Henry.

“If the only game I’m losing is against second in the world, then it’s been a good competition.

“Whenever Ross and I train together, he is really good at giving little tips, being very helpful and guiding me on the different things he encountered when he was coming through.

“It’s the same as when I play Billy (Shilton) and Josh (Stacey) and all these guys that are ranked a lot higher than me and have a lot more experience.

“I’m just trying to learn as much as possible from them.”

Henry leapt onto the international scene last year when he swooped silver and bronze at the Under-23 European Championships.

Around the same time, he crossed the border and swapped North Ayrshire for South Yorkshire, finding a new home at the prestigious English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

The move saw Henry become a full-time athlete, with Wilson and co on hand to help navigate the next chapter in his quest for world domination.

“With constant top-level coaching and playing with guys who are at the top level, I’m quickly learning how to think about a match,” added Henry, one of 50 promising young athletes supported by funding from a partnership between SportsAid and Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

“It’s not just physical stuff like forehands and backhands, but how to think your way through different styles and situations.

“Now I have more of a game plan, whereas before when I was only training a few times a week, I was almost hoping that I would play well that day.

“You don’t go full time to get better results at British level, you want to try to become the best in the world.

“I know that’s the aim for everyone, but it’s my goal too.”

Link to the interview by Herald Scotland – Henry relishing elite competition as he continues Paralympic charge | The Herald (heraldscotland.com)