Bayley and Davies receive MBE in New Year Honours List

Paralympic champions Will Bayley and Rob Davies have each been given an MBE for services to table tennis in the New Year Honours list published today.

World champion Bayley, who was born with arthrogryphosis and survived childhood cancer, took gold in the men’s class 7 singles in Rio, four years after losing in the final in London 2012.

will-bayley-with-medal-on-podium“I’m so delighted to be given an MBE,” said the 28 year old from Tunbridge Wells. “It is a huge honour and means so much to me. I’m proud every day to represent Great Britain and I feel privileged to have been able to represent my country in three Paralympic Games already. I’m still hungry for more medals and my long term goal is retaining my title in Tokyo 2020 where I will hopefully be at my peak.

“I would like to say thanks my coach Gorazd Vecko and to all my GB team mates and support staff; without them I would not be the player I am today. Thanks also to Gary Howes at Byng Hall – my first table tennis club – and to all my sponsors and supporters over the last 10 years who have believed in me and have made it possible for me to compete at this level. I hope to continue to repay your trust and belief in the years to come.

“I couldn’t have achieved anything without the support of my family – my mum, step-dad and my brother – the amazing team at Great Ormond Street Hospital and a dear family friend Linda Slade, who sadly passed away last year and did so much to help me.”

davies-robert-gbr-07Davies played semi-professional rugby until a spinal cord injury while playing left him wheelchair-bound at the age of 21. Disappointed not to win a medal in London 2012 he responded by taking European gold in 2013 and becoming World number one. European champion again in 2015 he took gold in the men’s class 1 singles in Rio.

“I feel absolutely ecstatic that I’ve been named in this year’s honours list to receive an MBE,” said the 32 year old Welshman. “My face just lit up when I read the letter – I was just so overwhelmed and happy. I just couldn’t believe it! I feel so privileged and proud and would just like to thank everybody who’s been part of this amazing journey I’ve been on.  I can’t wait to make 2017 special!”

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Pathway trio finish with four medals in US Open

The British Para Table Tennis Team took two team medals at the PTT US Open in Las Vegas with Martin Perry adding silver in men’s class 6-7 to the gold he won in the men’s class 6 singles and Billy Shilton winning silver in men’s class 8.

martin-perry-france-3“I feel that I’ve played positive table tennis throughout,” said Perry, who was partnered in the team event by the Chilean Matias Pino Lorca. “It could have been very easy to get distracted out here in Las Vegas but I feel that the mental strength of the whole team has really shown as we have kept each other grounded and focused throughout. I’m over the moon with my first senior title! I put a lot of hard work in back home and in Sheffield and it’s nice to see it paying dividends on the big day. I’m incredibly happy with some of my wins out here; to have beaten the world number 11 for the second time in a row really does fill me with confidence going forward into 2017.”

Shilton combined with the Italian Samuel De Chiara to take the silver in men’s class 8, the pair winning all their group matches and their semi-final against The Netherlands 2-0 and only losing in the final to the experienced Swedish combination of former world number one Emil Andersson and Linus Karlsson.

Billy Shilton Germany 2015Shilton won the deciding singles against Norway in the group and The Netherlands and was happy to bounce back from his disappointment in the singles.

“I didn’t play great in the singles event and struggled to maintain a good level of focus,” he said. “But I had a good chat with my coach Shaun about finding ways to re-focus and I brought it into my matches in the team event. I was really pleased with how I performed during the team event and it was great to win a silver medal in my last tournament of the year. Next year my aims are to break into the top 15 in the world and qualify for the World championships.”

Tom Matthews was thrilled to win his first singles gold medal on his return from injury.

Tom Matthews Vejle 2015 2“It was tough as it was my first international back since Italy in February,” said the European team champion. “I knew my training had gone well up to the event but it was just settling my nerves and playing with confidence and consistency that got me through. I admit I was very nervous in my semi-final coming up against a player I’ve never faced before and being back in that pressure situation, and to pull through that was a good stepping stone to my final match against Nam. Going 2-0 down was always going to be difficult to fight back against a top player but I just thought to myself ‘fight for every ball and just get it on the table’ and it paid off.

“I’m over the moon to win my first international gold especially against such a great opponent. I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone for getting me back up to match fitness after my injury and just thank you for all the support.”

Posted in GB

Matthews and Perry find gold in Vegas

Two of the British Para Table Tennis Team’s brightest young prospects have taken gold in their respective singles events at the PTT US Open in Las Vegas. Tom Matthews made a winning return from injury in men’s class 1 and Martin Perry also won his first singles gold in men’s class 6.

Tom Matthews Vejle 2015 5Matthews was playing in his first international competition since February after breaking his leg in the spring and after a walkover against the American Sebastian De Francesco he topped his group with wins against Matti Launonen from Finland (3-1) and the Korean Hakjin Kim (3-0).

A 3-1 win over the Argentinian Guillermo Bustamante Sierra took him into the final against World number five KiWon Nam and when the Korean took the first two sets he looked to be in control. But Matthews showed all his determination and fight to come back and win the next three and secure his first singles gold medal.

Martin Perry France 4Perry began with a great 3-0 win against the very experienced and top ranked Danny Bobrov from Israel and secured first place in his group with further wins against two Americans Ari Arratia (3-1) and Edward Schneider (3-0). He reached the final with a 3-1 win against the Chilean Matias Pino Lorca and also showed his fighting spirit to come from 2-1 down against the talented young American Ian Seidenfeld to take the gold.

Billy Shilton Vejle 2015 13Billy Shilton played well to win his three group matches in men’s class 8 against Gabriel Salazar Perez from Ecuador (3-1), Pablo Jacobsen from Norway (3-0) and the American Solomon Sesaye (3-0) but was disappointed to lose in the quarter-final to the Italian Samuel De Chiara.

The competition continues with the team event that concludes tomorrow.

Posted in GB

Bayley wins SJA Award

will-bayley-sja-awardsWorld champion Will Bayley’s achievement in winning Paralympic gold in Rio has been recognised today by the Sports Journalists Association which presented him with the Bill McGowran Award for outstanding achievement in Paralympic sport by a man. The award for a woman went to Kadeena Cox who won Paralympic gold in athletics and cycling.

Bayley received the award at a glittering ceremony at the Tower of London and said: “This is such a big award for me personally but also for table tennis and it is amazing to get some recognition for the sport.”

The 28 year old was born with arthrogryphosis and also overcame childhood cancer. After taking silver in London 2012 he became World champion in 2014 and his table-topping celebration after winning gold in Rio became one of the most iconic images of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

British team hoping to end season on a high in Vegas

The British Para table tennis team is sending three of its most promising young players to compete in the 2016 PTT US Open in Las Vegas this week (December 14-16). European team gold medalist Tom Matthews and 18 year old European bronze medalist Billy Shilton will be joined by fellow Pathway squad member Martin Perry and the three will be hoping to finish a successful season for the team on a high note.

MATTHEWS ThomasMatthews will be competing for the first time since the Italian Open in February after breaking his leg in the spring.

“Training has been going very well since returning from injury,” said the 24 year old Welshman. “I feel having the time off has matured me as a player mentally on and off the table. I feel I’m playing some of my best table tennis at the moment, getting good consistency and really enjoying being on the table. I’m looking forward to testing myself against the international players once again.”

Perry will be playing his first international competition for six months but has been preparing for the US Open by playing local league matches in Sheffield, where he is now based with the British Para table tennis squad.

Martin Perry France 2“Training has been good,” he said. “I feel that I’m playing quite well at the moment and this week will be a good opportunity to end the year on a high and try out some new things we’ve been working on that I hope are going to improve my game in the future.”

The ParalympicsGB table tennis team won two gold medals in Rio and Perry admits to being inspired by their achievements.

“Four years ago I watched these guys as strangers win medals in London,” he said, “and that made me realise I want to give this sport everything I’ve got. Now I’ve been training with the team for around two and a half years, and full time with them for a year, and these guys are friends and teammates – family almost – and to watch them win medals has been incredible. Training in the same environment and knowing I’m working towards the same goals in future has really spurred me on.”

Billy Shilton Vejle 2015 3Shilton just missed out on selection for the Paralympic Games but went to Rio as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme.

“I was really honoured to be selected for the programme and going to Rio was an amazing experience,” he said. “It’s really motivated me to go on now and get to Tokyo. That’s always been my long-term aim, to qualify for a Paralympics, so hopefully I can do that.”

Will Bayley LEGO tribute

Paralympic and World champion Will Bayley could soon be immortalised in LEGO if creator Neil Marsden can generate enough support to convince LEGO to make his set.

will-bayley-legoNeil is a coach at Byng Hall Table Tennis Club in Tunbridge Wells, where Will started his career, and is also an amateur LEGO modeller in his spare time.

“I’ve created a set to celebrate Will’s gold medal in Rio,” said Neil, “and I’ve added it to the LEGO Ideas website. LEGO Ideas allows the general public to vote on each proposed LEGO idea and if an idea gets 10,000 votes then LEGO will consider turning the idea into a real LEGO set that you can buy in the shops. However, first it needs 10,000 votes which is quite a challenge! “

You can register your support for the Will Bayley LEGO set here: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/160531

Could be the perfect Christmas gift next year!

Talent Recruitment Day Saturday 26th November 2016 EIS Sheffield

What are Talent Recruitment Days ?gbr-mens-team-class-6-8-bronze-8

British Para Table Tennis is actively searching for new talented athletes to become part of our Pathway Programme as we look to expand our talent pool for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and beyond.  Over the next 18 months, British Para Table Tennis will be running a number or Talent Recruitment Days across Great Britain.

To get involved, please read the brochure by clicking the link below.

Does your disability fit within International classification set by the International Table Tennis Federation?

talentrecruitmentbrochure16

If you have any questions please contact Shaun Marples whose information is in the brochure.

World Masters Games 2017

The World Masters Games 2017 is being held in Auckland, New Zealand between 21st – 30th April 2017 and table tennis will be among the 11 Para sports included.

Further information on the event can be found here:   http://www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz/the-sports/para-sports/

Anyone interested in competing should contact the organisers direct and will need to be self-funded and be responsible for all arrangements.

Deborah Davies

last-leg-groupIt is with great sadness that we have learnt of the sudden death of Deborah Davies, the wife of Paul Davies – a member of the GB Para Table Tennis squad who was bronze medallist in men’s class 1 singles in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and men’s class 1 European Team Champion in 2013 with Rob Davies. Deborah accompanied Paul to all his international competitions as his carer and was a valued member of the GB team. She was in Rio with Paul and as always was a great help to all the team with her kindness, good humour and enthusiastic support of all the athletes.

GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko and one of his predecessors Dave Hewitt have both paid tribute to Deborah as a much respected team member who contributed greatly to the overall team ethos; these sentiments have also come from our President Philip Lewis MBE and  Vice-President John Jenkins MBE as well as the British Paralympic Association and all at UK Sport. Our deep sympathy and condolences go to Paul and his family.

A funeral service for Deborah will be held at 2:30pm on Thursday, October 6th at Margam Crematorium, Longland Lane, Port Talbot SA13 2NR.
Karen Tonge MBE
Chairman
Posted in GB

SportsAid Week raising money to help support the next generation of British sports stars on the road to Tokyo and beyond

SportsAid is encouraging the British public to support the country’s sporting future by undertaking fundraising activities to help the next generation of Olympians and Paralympians targeting Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

sportsaidweek-twitterThe charity’s inaugural SportsAid Week, launched to help mark SportsAid’s 40th anniversary in 2016, takes place from Monday 26 September to Sunday 2 October. The money generated will contribute towards the training and competition costs of young talented British sports stars.

SportsAid alumni were highly successful at the Rio Olympic Games with 46 of the 67 medals won by Team GB coming from athletes previously helped by the charity including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Adam Peaty, Mo Farah, Katherine Grainger, Bradley Wiggins, Max Whitlock, Laura Trott and Giles Scott.

A number of schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, sports clubs and individuals have lined up fundraising activities for SportsAid Week including sponsored bike rides and runs, sports demonstrations, poker tournaments, fancy dress days and bucket collections.

Hollie Webb, who won Olympic gold with Team GB’s women’s hockey in Rio, and Jon Schofield, a silver medallist in the K2 200m canoe sprint, are running Tough Mudder for SportsAid. They’re being joined by fellow SportsAid alumni Louisa Gurski and Lani Belcher, and Rachel Cawthorn.

Gail Emms is taking on Swim Serpentine, Mark Foster will be hosting a sports quiz in Southend, and Keri-anne Payne and David Florence are going to assist staff from MyLotto24 on their ‘Ride, Run and Row to Rio’. Leon Taylor is supporting the ICAP Graduate Charity Day at the London Aquatics Centre.

Royal Bank of Canada will be hosting a number of sporting demonstrations, including gymnastics, boxing and modern pentathlon, at two of its office in London while staff at Hogarth will be taking daily lunchtime walks with SportsAid ambassador Laura Wright joining them on Wednesday.

The Surrey Legs of Steel, marking its 10th anniversary on Saturday 1 October, coincides with SportsAid Week. The event is held to commemorate Dave Aitchison, a rising star in British triathlon, who died suddenly in January 2007 aged 29. All profits go towards the Dave Aitchison SportsAid Fund.

SportsAid Week, which will also look to shine a spotlight on the athletes aiming to reach Tokyo, has received the backing of Team GB gymnast Louis Smith and ParalympicsGB swimmer Ellie Simmonds, both of whom were given support by SportsAid during the early stages of their careers.

“Committing to sport at a high level can be a real challenge when you’re young,” said Louis – who received SportsAid awards in 2007 and 2008. “It’s not just the costs you face, but having the belief in yourself to keep training and competing to fulfil the potential you have.”

SportsAid Week champion Louis added: “The support I received from my family, friends and coaches was crucial, and SportsAid acted as an extra vote of confidence when I needed it. They recognised me for my talent and I felt that somebody else believed I could make it.”

SportsAid alumni also made a big contribution towards the ParalympicsGB medal haul with 44 gold, 28 silver and 32 bronze coming from them. Ellie received her award in 2006 when she was just 11 – two years before she burst onto the scene by winning double gold at Beijing 2008.

“The support SportsAid gave to me when I was younger made a real difference so early on in my career,” said Ellie. “They recognised the potential I had and helped contribute towards covering the costs a young athlete and their family can face when training and competing.

“SportsAid Week is a great way for people across the country to show their support for the next generation of British athletes straight after Rio. There will be lots of fun and exciting activities going on to help increase awareness of SportsAid and raise funds for the sports stars of the future.”

Prior to the arrival of National Lottery support in 1997, SportsAid was the major source of funding for most of the country’s top athletes, including Steve Redgrave and Tanni Grey-Thompson, from 1976 onwards. The charity’s focus turned to the next generation after UK Sport was established.

SportsAid is supporting over 1,000 athletes – the vast majority aged 12 to 18 – in 2016. They are considered to be the country’s brightest prospects and are nominated to the charity by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000.

Most of the athletes supported by SportsAid receive no other funding which means they rely heavily on their parents and the award to help cover the costs associated with their sport such as transportation, accommodation and equipment.

You can make a donation during SportsAid Week to support young British athletes. Text “WEEK40 £5”, “WEEK40 £10” or as much as you would like to donate to 70070. You can also purchase a special edition SportsAid ‘1976’ anniversary headband for £2.50 each. Share a photo of you wearing your headband by tweeting @TeamSportsAid with #SportsAidWeek.