Fliss Pickard, Megan Shackleton and Theo Bishop are included in an 18-strong British squad for the ITTF European Para Table Tennis Championships that are taking place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from September 4-9.

It is only the second time since the London 2012 Paralympic Games that the stars of the British Para Table Tennis Team have had the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd.

The tournament also represents an opportunity for athletes to secure Paralympic qualification with the gold medallist in each singles class earning a ‘golden ticket’ for Paris 2024 and valuable World ranking points available in both singles and doubles events.

Pickard has established herself as one of the top players in women’s class 6 since narrowly missing out on qualification for Tokyo.

The 29-year-old from Burnley became a World champion last year, taking gold in the women’s class 14 doubles with Grace Williams as well as bronze in the mixed doubles with Billy Shilton, and will compete in all three events in the Europeans.

“I’m really looking forward to the Europeans,” said the 29-year-old who also trains in Sheffield. “It’s a privilege to be able to play all three events and I can’t wait to get going.

"For me I think what works best is to take one match at a time and focus on what I can do. I believe I can take on anyone in the world so I’m going in with that process and just go and enjoy it, play the way I can play and hope for the best. I want to get among the medals and who knows?

“It’s also really exciting to be going out there again with Grace – we’ve done a lot of work in the last few weeks. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year but that is sport - you have your highs and your lows - but I think we are in a very good place at the moment and both really looking forward to getting out there especially with Shaun (coach Shaun Marples) back in our corner, so the dream team are back together.

“I also really enjoy playing with Billy – we’ve grown up through the programme together and we’re great friends. It’s great to be able to play with him, especially in a European championship on the biggest stage.”

Shackleton missed most of last year recovering from a long-term injury but is gradually working her way back to the form that won her a Paralympic team bronze in Tokyo. She will also compete in the mixed doubles with Commonwealth champion Jack Hunter-Spivey.

“I’m feeling really good now,” said the 24-year-old from Todmorden. “I had quite a slow start to the season, but I’ve started to find my feet again.

"I’ve found a bit of extra confidence just from seeing the results building all the time so I’m excited to get started. I think it is great to have a home championship, especially being in Yorkshire, after so many years of competing when my family and friends haven’t actually been able to watch me. I’m sure there will be quite a few people coming to support which is nice.

“Obviously everyone wants to take a medal and I want to improve my qualification towards Paris but without focusing on outcomes for me a successful Europeans would be bringing what I’ve been working on in the training hall and just feeling good on the table, thinking clearly and enjoying the competition.

“Me and Jack have gone from strength to strength through the season and as well as working well together on the table we do have a great friendship. We know how to communicate well with each other and help each other out in some of the trickier situations so we’re just excited to have the opportunity to play together on a major stage and fingers crossed we have some good performances.”

Bishop is part of the British Para table tennis team Pathway squad and has put up some strong performances this year against some of the best players in the world in men’s class 7. He recently won his first gold medal, combining with World champion Will Bayley to win the men’s class 14 doubles at the US Open in July.

“It was hugely exciting to get selected,” said the 20-year-old from Rossendale. “I wasn’t sure if I would be selected or not so as the day got closer, I was getting more and more nervous – I was trying to play it cool but I don’t think I pulled it off. Now I can’t wait to play.

“I’d say that I’m a highly motivated person anyway - I’m always trying to be the hardest working person in whatever room I am - but just to see that the coaches do believe in me is massive and makes me feel I’m going in the right direction and if I carry on doing what I’m doing then I can do what I believe I’m capable of doing.

“To be honest the selection is a success in itself and at this stage in my career I’m mainly going for the experience so that in the coming years when I’m there for the medals it won’t be a big new stage that I’m not used to. I’ll have been there, done that and be able to bring out my best performances on the day.

“Most of my family are going to be away but my grandmother will be coming to watch me which is massive for me. Most of my life she’s lived in Ireland so she’s never seen me play and it will be exciting but nerve wracking for me because I want to show her what I can do, and it will be nice for her to be able to watch me.”