Hunter-Spivey not feeling the pressure as he goes for Commonwealth gold on Saturday

·2-min read
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jack Hunter-Spivey of Team England returns a shot against Muhammad Mudassar of Team Canada during the Men's Singles Table Tennis Classes 3-5 Group match on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 04, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jack Hunter-Spivey of Team England returns a shot against Muhammad Mudassar of Team Canada during the Men's Singles Table Tennis Classes 3-5 Group match on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 04, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

By James Reid at the NEC in Birmingham

JACK Hunter-Spivey believes the pressure is off as he goes for Commonwealth gold in the table tennis men’s singles classes 3-5 final on Saturday.

Hunter-Spivey fought past Nigeria’s Isau Ogunkunle 3-0 (11-4, 13-11, 11-9) at the NEC in Birmingham to book his place in the gold medal match against Nasiru Sule, also of Nigeria.

The Liverpudlian looked in control throughout a competitive contest and now simply wants to enjoy his final match of the 2022 Games in Birmingham.

“I’m just relishing the opportunity,” said Hunter-Spivey, who will be hoping to add to his Paralympic bronze medal from Tokyo 2020. “I don’t have to take it too seriously.

“Just enjoy the moment, as that’s what it’s all about. There are worse jobs in the world to be doing – if we don’t enjoy it, what are we doing it for?

“I’m just going to go out there, execute the plan that we have, and hopefully get the W.”

Hunter-Spivey exploded out of the blocks to win the first game 11-4 and take control of the match.

The Sheffield-based player knew he would face a tough fight against Ogunkunle but credits the work done away from the table with coach Andrew Rushden.

“Me and Andrew Rushden my coach worked through a lot of video analysis, we got our tactics spot on and I kept the spotlight on the table in the big moments,” added Hunter-Spivey, who will take to the table at 7pm tomorrow.

“I’m actually very proud of myself. If you told me as a young kid that I’d be in the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games, it’s incredible.”

Hunter-Spivey’s campaign looked in peril in the group stage after losing to Sule, but the 27-year-old bounced back to beat Canada’s Muhammad Mudassar and secure progression.

The Liverpool fan will have to reverse his fortunes against the Nigerian in the final if he wants to go home with gold but believes he can take a lot from his progress over the past year.

“I feel amazing, the way I’ve bounced back from the loss in the group stage shows a lot about how experienced I am.

“I believe in myself a lot more since Tokyo, Okungunle is a great player, he played really well.”

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