Katy returns to full-time table tennis

Katy Parker represented England as a 12-year-old and retired while she was still in her teens.

Now at the grand old age of 23 she is returning to full-time table tennis as a coach – with a mission to find her own replacement.

"There might be a future international out there who hasn't been discovered yet, who knows," said Katy, who leaves her job with the Lancashire Evening Post this week to take up a new role as regional coach for the North West.

"That is what is so exciting about this job. I can't wait to get started."

Katy, from Preston, reached the top in women's table tennis during her teen years, but quit international competition to concentrate on her education.

Now, with the eyes of the world ready to focus on London 2012 after this summer's Beijing Olympics, Sport England has set up its ambitious UK Coaching Framework across all sports.

And the former Commonwealth Games player has been called in to pass on her table tennis expertise to thousands of youngsters across an area from Northwich up to Barrow-in-Furness.

"The intention is to create a world-leading coaching system in the United Kingdom by 2016," explained Katy, who has been working in the

LEP promotions department

"It is under the Sport England banner and it is for all sports, not just table tennis. The idea is to employ regional coaches in every sport as well as nationally.

"I will be going out into schools and clubs across the North West working with players and hopefully developing them. I've worked quite a lot with the England Under-12 and Under-15 development squads. But I don't know who else there is in this region of the country."

The UK Coaching Framework has set out an action plan for all sports. Katy said: "By 2016 they want English coaching to be leading the world. Of course that is going to be tough to achieve.

"But they are putting quite a bit of money into it, so we can only wait and see how it goes."

Katy is well-qualified, having made her senior international debut at the age of just 12, becoming the youngest-ever competitor to represent

England in a World Championships.

She went on to win national titles at three different junior levels and became England's No.1.

Mum Jill Parker was European champion, when she was known as Jill Hammersley, and dad Donald was also an international.

Katy has travelled the world playing table tennis and her coaching credentials were recognised when the English Table Tennis Association voted her Young Coach of the Year.