Table tennis ace Emily Bolton admitted she has loved life at the Commonwealth Games after a late injury call-up gave her the chance to represent Team England.
Bolton’s time on the table alongside Charlotte Bardsley in the women’s doubles ended with a 3-0 defeat to strong Singaporean pair Tianwei Feng and Jian Zeng in the last 16.
However, the 24-year-old – who joined Team England following Molly Patterson’s shoulder injury - has seen enough in Birmingham to light the fire for Victoria 2026.
She said: “Obviously they are a really good pair. They’ve probably played together for a long time and it was really difficult.
“It is what it is and that’s just the way the draw is sometimes. We tried our best to put our game onto them but they are strong and they had an answer to everything we threw at them.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Games. It has been a really nice atmosphere every day watching matches on the bench with the girls or in the stands.
“Being chucked in last minute was a little bit of a surprise, but it’s been a really enjoyable experience.
“Hopefully in four years’ time I might still be around and I can build from here and improve my game further.”
Bolton’s partner Bardsley, from Stourbridge, revealed she will take plenty of lessons from playing in front of a boisterous home crowd that was nothing like she’d ever seen before.
She explained: “It was a really difficult match but we gave it our best. They were on a different level to us, so it was hard.
“I think I’ve definitely learnt a lot and being able to perform in front of the big crowd and in really crucial moments has really helped me and hopefully I can do that again in future competitions.
“I was taken aback at how much support we had. I didn’t really know what was going to happen and I didn’t really know what was going to happen but it was a great feeling.
“It’s really special to compete in my home city because I’ll probably never get this opportunity again in my lifetime. It has been fantastic to play with all my friends and my family watching me.”
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