But, like I say, we want to improve our games as much as possible to be in good shape for the games. We just want to do as well as we can.
- Obviously Beijing did a great job back in 2008 so what are you expecting from the London Games?
Beijing was absolutely amazing, we went over there to watch but we weren’t competing, I would love to have been a part of it because the atmosphere was amazing.
But London I’m sure is going to be more than that for us because we are the home nation - I can imagine that the buzz is going to be amazing. Everyone is talking about it already and I’m looking forward to it really.
- So how did you get into the sport in the first place?
I started when I was seven at an after school club, when I was in primary school, and I just went from there really. I carried on playing and my coach saw that I had a natural ability for it and encouraged to play three times a week.
When I was 12 I left my home in Surrey, I left all my family and everything, to go and live in Nottingham for the national academy, I got selected for that.
My mum couldn’t believe that I wanted to go because I was so long but I didn’t think anything of it - so I lived there until I was 12-16; but then it closed because it had no funding.
Then when I was 17 I went to live in Berlin for 2 years playing for a club out there, I was there full time training, But that was hard, a lot harder than leaving home and going to Nottingham, it was a different country and I was all on my own - but for my table tennis it was great and I learnt a lot.
I left there when I was 19 because I felt that I had got all out of it and I wanted come back home - now I am living in Sheffield.
- There’s a big push to get kids into sport, especially with the Olympics being so close, so for those who want to take up table tennis are there any tips or advice that you can give?
I have heard a lot of people say that they would like to get into table tennis but they don’t know where - I can honestly say that every leisure centre will have a table tennis table - there is table tennis everywhere you just have to ask.
Table tennis is just a great sport for any age and any level, anyone can play it from children to the elderly, it’s such a versatile sport and everyone can get enjoyment out of it.
It’s also a very energetic sport, if you want it to be (laughs), and it’s a good way to keep up you fitness levels - so if anyone wants to get into exercise than table tennis is great because it’s fun and you use a lot of energy.
- Finally where are we going to be seeing you compete for the rest of the year?
I’m going out to China in August for training and then a tournament - the China Pro tour is a big one because the Chinese players really are very good.
Then we have got the European Championships which are in October - that’s also a big one, it’s also long as we play a team event before going on to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles. We have one more pro tour before Christmas; I don’t know where that is yet.
After Christmas there will be a few more pro tour events as well as the world championships.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw
Female First caught up with Joanna Parker to mark the launch of Kinect Sports Presents: Summer Saturdays at Rough Trade East (www.roughtrade.com).
Every Saturday until August 27th, families can come down and enjoy breakfast, browse records, play on Kinect Sports on Xbox 360 and enter to win an Xbox console.