Wandsworth paralympian McKibbin wants his rivals running scared
Aaron McKibbin had opponents on the other side of the table tennis net running scared in 2012, but the Wandsworth Paralympian wants more in 2013.
The 21-year-old’s sporting highlight of the past 12 months was winning Olympic team bronze in the class 8 table tennis competition - but he was also part of the team that won gold at the Chinese and Italian Opens.
Then, to crown it all, McKibbin was named Active Wandsworth Sports Person of the Year.
Now, unwilling to rest on their laurels, the York Gardens Club player and his team-mates are training full-time to go even better in the World Championships in May and Rio 2016.
"The team is in a good position. We’ve pushed on even further since London 2012, and we trained incredibly hard for that. But we have come back hungry," he said.
"We’re one of the top squads in the world and if we keep improving the way we are, I think we can be the best squad in the world by Rio.
"We could be a squad that people are afraid to play against, people are already scared of us but by Rio we want to be the benchmark - that’s what we’re aiming for."
Whether or not McKibbin succeeds in Rio, the event is unlikely to match his London 2012 experience - and the effects it has had on his sport.
"The London 2012 experience was phenomenal. Being in your home town meant I felt comfortable, but then you also felt on another world when you were inside the Olympic Village.
"The support from the public was amazing, at every match the stands were full and they were cheering for you.
"Chances are they had no idea who you were, but they were cheering the Team GB - it was really nice."
He added: "And table tennis has benefited. We got a lot of publicity through the Games and we have more players now.
"In the development squad we’ve got maybe another 30 players who we have never seen before, and they have been inspired by London 2012 and they are actually good players."
McKibbin’s next challenge is qualification for the World and European Championships with competitions in America, Slovenia, Slovakia and Germany.