LONDON 2012: Hicks trying not to think about home Olympics
THE Olympic competition schedule has been announced, tickets for the Games have just gone on sale but for Hannah Hicks, London 2012 still seems a distance away.
LONG TIME: Hannah Hicks insists the London 2012 Olympics still feel a lifetime away as she prepares to stake her claim for a place
The 19-year-old faces an uphill task to book her Team GB London 2012 berth, with only one guaranteed singles spot available and just three places in the team event.
April will see Hicks take on the world's best at the Rotterdam table tennis World Championships in May - an opportunity to see how much improvement is needed ahead of London 2012.
But with Kelly Sibley currently Britain's undisputed number one and Joanna Parker, Karina Le Fevre and Emma Vickers all challenging Hicks for a place in Britain's team event - she admits her place is far from guaranteed.
"Obviously London 2012 is in the back of my mind," said Hicks, who saw the British Olympic Association announce in earlier in March that they would allow Britain's table tennis players to take up the host nation places.
"I use it for determination but I try not to think about it too much because the next tournament is never far away. I haven't really looked closely at the Olympic schedule but it's exciting to hear that the dates and venues have all been arranged.
"It's a case of cross that bridge when we come to it. There will only be one guaranteed singles place at London 2012, which makes it very tough to qualify because you have to go up against the best players in Europe.
"There will be three of us in the team event, which I think is a more realistic aim for me to qualify but there are some good British girls out there as well.
"The team is what I'm aiming for but it's going to be a long hard road for us with there not being a team event at the World Championships."
Hicks is currently considering offers to go and play her club table tennis abroad - with teams in Sardinia and also France vying for her services.
And Hicks is convinced a period away from her comfort zone is just what is needed ahead of the London Games.
"I'm not playing for a club team at the moment but I'm looking at several options abroad - I think it will prove very useful," she added.
"I've had offers from a few different countries so I'm trying to see which will be best for me. I could never really play abroad before because I was too young, but since I've turn 18 it definitely is a possibility.
"I'm still looking at the information at the moment so it is early days, but I've had some offers back - one from an Italian club in the south of Sardinia which is promising."