England women promoted to top division at European Championships

Joanna Parker
Parker won the English National Championship last year

England's women have earned promotion to the top division of the team event at the European Championships in Gdansk, Poland.

The team of Joanna Parker, Kelly Sibley and Emily Bates beat Greece, Portugal and France in the Challenge Division play-offs to secure 17th place overall.

They had earlier beaten Azerbaijan, Italy and Finland to top their group.

"The girls have achieved the goal we set ourselves 12 months ago," said England coach Alan Cooke.external-link

"We were in the same position 12 months ago and narrowly missed out so this is a great feeling."

England's men had contrasting fortunes, dropping out of the top tier as they could only finish 11th, with a 3-0 defeat by France denying the team of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Daniel Reed the top-10 place they required to remain in the Championship Division.

Wales' women finished 26th overall after losing 3-0 to Slovenia in their final play-off match, while the Welsh men lost to Norway in their play-off match for the 25th-32nd positions.

The singles and doubles stages of the European Championships begin on Wednesday.

While this tournament does not count towards 2012 Olympic qualification, it provides English and Welsh players the opportunity to improve their rankings and chances of selection for Great Britain at next year's Games.

Top Stories