A heartbroken Maria Tsaptsinos paid tribute to her doubles partner and best friend Tin-Tin Ho after the English table tennis duo’s Commonwealth Games came to an end.
Tsaptsinos and Ho won bronze together in the team event on the Gold Coast in 2018 but they will leave Birmingham without a medal after losing their round of 16 tie at The NEC.
The England pair appeared in good shape after winning the opening game against Minhyung Jee and Jian Fang Lay of Australia 11-5 but they lost the following three to crash out.
And Reading’s Tsaptsinos struggled to hide her emotions after exiting the competition early, admitting that they only have themselves to blame for making too many mistakes.
“I’m heartbroken, upset. This means for both of us that the Games is over which is definitely not how we wanted this to go but they are a good opponent,” she said.
“We fought the best we could, we put up some good stuff at the end, we were just a little bit unlucky at the end - literally. Just a few mistakes, a few errors let us down.
“Those few mistakes can cost you a whole match and unfortunately it did today. The game against Nigeria (in team event) is probably our high point, it’s not what we wanted it to be.
“Looking back that was a great match. We had some tough draws out there but ultimately, we’ve got to take the positives that we can, we came together when we needed to.
“We’re a great, young team - we’re still quite young - and to be honest, my favourite part has been the crowd for me. Getting behind you win or lose, they are there behind you.
“It’s like a feeling you’ll never have unless it’s a home Games so I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to participate in a home Games, unfortunately not the result I wanted but very proud.”
Tsaptsinos also took the opportunity to gush about her long-time partner and best friend Ho, as well as fellow Team England stars Charlotte Bardsley and Emily Bolton.
“Me and Tins are best friends, for a long time now,” she added. “It’s great. I’ll just look at her and I’ll cry right now but we have supported each other through thick and thin, through everything
“I couldn’t ask for a better friend, I couldn’t ask for a better teammate, couldn’t ask for a better player to warm up with, roommate, everything. I couldn’t ask for a better person.
“To have a home Games and have her here as well is just great, I’m really grateful for her friendship. Obviously, we want to win together and we’ll both take that to heart.
“We’ll need some time for reflection. The whole team really, Emily and Charlotte, I think we’ve come together really well and it’s been a great group of girls to have here with me.
“Everyone has supported each other. Everyone has had each other’s back.
“There’s a lot of laughter and it seems like a lot of tears here, but when we get over those loses and come back stronger there’s a lot of laughter and a lot of happiness within us.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.