Stokes, 29, from Queensbury, has qualified for his fourth finals in the annual Barry Hearn Matchroom competition at Alexandra Palace on January 26-27, where unlike table tennis, players use the classic old sandpaper bats.
“Without all that modern sponge technology on the bats the level of competition is much more even, without all the spins table tennis players can achieve and you get much longer rallies,” said Stokes, a full-time coach for the Greenhouse Sports charity which mentors youngsters in sporting activities all over London.
“I have never gone further than the last 16 in the tournament, so my target is to better that. If I reach the quarter-finals I would win an automatic place in next year’s event. Also if I do well I could be invited to compete in one or two of the tournaments held in China.”
Stokes, whose Lithuanian girlfriend Egle Adomelyte is also competing at Alexandra Palace as a wild card entry, has been given a pre-tournament boost with some practice sessions with Andrew Baggeley, England’s leading Commonwealth Games TT medal winner and twice himself winner of the WCPP title.
Some 40 nations, including Israel, have competitors in the event, which attracts a large live audience throughout the two days of play and will also feature on Sky Sports TV and Fox News in the USA.
Stokes first took interest in table tennis as a pupil at the then Edgware School, where The London Progress TT club was then based, and was coached by their founder Jon Kaufman, a legendary name in the sport.
Stokes, whose father passed away last year, is also a dedicated supporter of two charities, MayTree and YoungMinds, both of whom deal with mental health issues.