Maguire delighted to reach Ally Pally

Irish qualifier Gavin Maguire says he couldn’t be happier to have made it to the World Championship of Ping Pong 2014, and beating two Irish greats en route to Alexandra Palace makes it even sweeter.

The 23-year-old from Dublin beat Colm Slevin and Paul McCreery in Irish qualifying for the tournament, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports on January 4 and 5, but hopes the duo can still join him via the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ qualifying event in Essex on January 2.

“I couldn’t be happier knowing that I am going to Alexandra Palace in January,” said Maguire. “I watched the whole event last year on Sky Sports and loved it.

“To qualify in the way I did makes it even sweeter, beating an Irish great like Colm Slevin, and current Irish great Paul McCreery made the victory all the sweeter. I just hope now they can qualify in the final chance qualifier as they deserve a place in Ally Pally.”

Maguire will find out in December who his first opponent will be in the double-elimination group stage. He joins Welshman Dean Cundy in London, who qualified on the same day as 2009 Irish Champion Maguire.

Reigning champion Maxim Shmyrev was involved in the Russian qualifiers, which took place November 8-10. Shmyrev will return to defend his crown at Alexandra Palace, and will be joined by qualifiers Dmitrij Popov, Ksenija Tulenkova and Vladislav Kuzenko.

Using traditional sandpaper rackets, the World Championship of Ping Pong is a throwback to the early days of table tennis.

Live on Sky Sports in the UK, 64 of the world’s best players will take part in the two-day tournament with a substantial prize fund and tickets are on sale now at (search ‘Ping Pong’).

The tournament takes place over four sessions, with a double elimination group stage featuring eight groups played out on eight tables on the Saturdayafternoon before the last 32 enter a knockout stage played across two tables in the evening.

On Sunday morning the last 16 will be whittled down to eight quarter-finalists, who will proceed to the evening session to battle it out for the 2014 World Championship of Ping Pong crown.