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03/08/2004
Simpson to Captain England in Islamabad

Chris Simpson has been appointed England Captain for the World Juniors, and believes he can lead the team to victory ...

simpson england Simpson can lead England to glory

by Mike Donovan, the Sussex Argus

Chris SimpsonChris Simpson has been appointed England captain for the World Junior Championships, and believes he can lead his country to glory in Pakistan next month.

He said: "It is a great honour. I'm proud to get the job. It was a bit of a surprise to be named as skipper because I'll be one of the youngest players there. We've got one of the best teams in the world. We are European champions and I expect us to do well.

"A good captain can make the difference between a gold and silver medal and I feel I can do that. I've got good leadership qualities, organise the guys and spur them on."

The Brighton college pupil, 17, also believes he can mark his debut at the event by winning the individual singles crown. He said: "There are about ten players capable of winning it including myself and it depends on who peaks.

"I'm only seeded five to eight but I've seen my draw and that convinces me I have a real chance to win it. I am in the easiest half of the draw and if I reach the final I would be a lot fresher than whoever gets through to play me."

The British under-17s champion is in form, having won the Dutch Junior Open in Amsterdam. He also won a bronze medal in the individuals at the European Championships in April and was part of the winning team.

He said: "I am happy with the way my year has gone so far. Even though it is my debut and I'll be one of the youngest players at the worlds, I remain confident."

The only blip Simpson can spot on the horizon concerns illness. "Sporting teams have complained about becoming ill on tour in Pakistan. We can't take food with us because of restrictions on the weight of our luggage.

"So we've got to be very careful what we eat. We will probably survive on pasta."

World Junior Champs logoSimpson revealed there have been security concerns about the tournament in Islamabad.

"A few countries have not sent a team or are only sending a couple of players. But it won't affect the quality of the competition because all the main countries are sending their strongest players."

Simpson, with team-mates Richards (Surrey), James Wright (Leicestershire) and Joel Hinds (Derbyshire), started three days of intensive training at Corals this week.

England manager Mike Harris, who is based at the Hove club, said: "It will be a useful exercise. We are getting world-class players like Ben Garner, from Sussex, and Phil and Peter Barker, in to help raise their game."

Original story from the Argus

World Junior Championships

Sussex Argus

   

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