Team success is no longer enough for para table tennis star Aaron McKibbin, who’s out for a Paralympic medal all of his own in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old won back-to-back team bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, but a breakout individual season has seen him climb to a world ranking of sixth in his own right.
The Wandsworth star, who added team European silver to his medal collection earlier this year, believes he’s in the shape to challenge for the podium next year.
“I’m going towards Tokyo in great shape and I feel like I’m in the form of my life,” said McKibbin.
“I’m only looking at the positives and I can only improve. My dream is to get that individual medal.
That’s my goal, I’ve put myself in a great position where I can kick on.
“I absolutely love the team event. To be a part of something a bit bigger than yourself is really special.
“But it’s an individual sport and you want to be one of the greatest off your own bat. The icing on the cake would be an individual gold.”
McKibbin was speaking at the Olympic Park in Stratford, where he joined 25 past and present British athletes to mark the 25-year anniversary of the National Lottery.
Since the National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage, culture, film, charity and community, with more than 4,500 elite athletes receiving grants enabling them to access the best coaching, facilities and support staff in the world.
Before funding began for elite sport, Great Britain were ranked 36th in the medal table at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, but at Rio 2016 – after almost two decades of funding – Team GB finished second.
McKibbin’s bid for gold in Tokyo will be powered by National Lottery funding and he says he couldn’t contemplate conquering the world without their financial provision.
“To be in my sport, the minimum you have to give is six hours of table tennis a day,” he said.
“You get in at seven in the morning and don’t get back until seven at night. It’s impossible to work a job and do that, to reach the standard of being an international player.
“National Lottery funding has allowed me to achieve my dream.”
Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
and get involved by using the 25th hashtag: