Taking part in the tournament for the fourth time, Stokes, 29, from Queensbury, admits it was “a joy” to line up against world-class talent in an event where unlike table tennis, players use the classic old sandpaper bats.
“It was the top 64 players in the world,” said Stokes (right). “Everyone had qualified to be there through their own countries’ qualification tournament. I won the UK qualifier in November so I had more time to practise than in previous years.
“I fell at my final match to progress into the last 32 against a good opponent from the Philippines. In fact it was the first time I haven’t made it to at least the last 32 when playing in the finals.
“But the standard was higher and there was a lot more strength in depth. so you expect tougher matches right from the very start.
“I did manage to win my first group match and come away with £380.”
A full-time coach for the Greenhouse Sports charity, which mentors youngsters in sporting activities all over London, Stokes has never passed the last 16 of the tournament, but he insists he was “pleased” with his performance, “which shows I belong at that level in the top 64”.