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Darius Knight has Olympic hope

Darius Knight has big plans for his future – starting with going for table tennis gold at the Olympics.

When did you first realise you had a talent for sport?

I always used to lose when I first started playing table tennis! That’s what made me determined to get better.

What sorts of things have you had to sacrifice to reach the top?  

I’ve lived away from home since the age of 12 so there are lots of things I miss like birthdays and celebrations. After a while you get used to it.

What would a typical day be like in the run-up to a major event like the Olympics?

The day would start with a run in the morning followed by training from 9am to 12pm, and then again from 3.30pm to 7pm. The afternoon session will usually include some form of strength and condition or speed and agility work.

How do you feel about the Olympics being held in the UK?

I’m very proud to see the Olympics in my back garden; it will only happen once in my lifetime. I really hope it inspires young and old people to take up a sport and follow the British athletes, as support is so important in anything you do.

What really motivates you to keep going when it gets tough?

My little brother. He’s two now and the thought of telling him I never reached the best I could have been motivates me. Being an example to my family to show them that anything is possible makes me want to keep going and to keep improving.

How do you cope with periods of injury or illness?

When I’ve been injured I just believe that I’m Superman and nothing will affect me! On a serious note, I try to stay involved in table tennis whether it’s watching or planning how to be better. I believe there are more ways to improve than just playing on the table.

How important is your lung health?

It’s very important. With poor lung health, table tennis would be a real struggle and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.

What is your top tip for keeping your lungs in good shape?

I do a lot of running. As much as I don’t like it, running helps to control breathing, so I can recover quicker in a long match and my focus is much better than my opponent’s.

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7 April 2012