Davies looks to add World title to European crown

World Champs Team 2014 noPKWorld number one Rob Davies heads to China next week hoping to add the title of world champion to the men’s class 1 European crown that he won last year. The former rugby player from Brecon is one of nine GB players that will compete in the 2014 ITT Para Table Tennis World Championships in Beijing from September 6-15.

“Training has been going really well,” said Davies. “I’m well prepared and happy with the way I’m playing and can’t wait to get out to China now. It should be an amazing atmosphere.”

The 30 year old has come a long way since he made his World Championship debut in Korea four years ago.

Rob Davies action 6 2014“The experience I’ve gained over the last four years should be massive,” he said. “I’ve learnt so much and I know what to expect now so I’ll take that with me. Knowing how to prepare for a major championship is really important for me as I have my set routines and then I know I can perform like I do at home. Winning the Europeans gave me a lot of confidence and I’ve been training harder than ever – I know that no-one will have trained harder than me and hopefully that will stand me in good stead.”

Having taken over the world number one ranking from reigning World and Paralympic champion Holger Nikelis last year Davies confirmed his status this season by taking gold in the Slovenia Open although a semi-final defeat to his old rival Jean-Francois Ducay in Slovakia showed that the Frenchman is likely to be one of his toughest rivals again in China.

“There are a lot of good players,” said Davies, “and I’m not looking at anyone as my main competitor. It would be massive to be world champion – winning the Europeans, Worlds and Paralympics are my three goals. I’ve got to play well and if I do then I will have a good chance. As long as I’m enjoying my table tennis and having fun then I know I can play well.”

London 2012 star and world number two Will Bayley has reached the final of the men’s class 7 singles at the last three major championships and will be hoping for a first World Championship medal after taking gold in the Europeans in 2011, Paralympic silver in 2012 and European silver in 2013.

Will Bayley action 4 2014“The experience of the past three finals helps massively,” said the Sheffield based 26 year old from Tunbridge Wells, “because I know how to prepare for these big tournaments and I believe in myself 100% that I can perform under that sort of pressure. The World Championships in China will be brilliant. Table tennis is their national sport and it’s somewhere I feel I’ve got unfinished business after not playing my best in Beijing in 2008 – I want to play well there this time so I’m looking forward to it. It is going to be a real test for us but I feel that the whole GB team is so well prepared that we can take on anybody.”

Bayley also has good prospects of a medal in the men’s class 6-7 team competition with Swansea’s Paul Karabardak and the pair won European bronze in 2013. “I absolutely love playing in the team competition with Paul,” he said, “because we’ve played for many years together and we’ve got a great understanding of each other. I’m looking forward to it because I feel we could do something very special if we work as a team.”

“Will is a very strong player but I bring some consistency to that,” said Karabardak, “and we gel really well because of our styles. I’m really steady and Will can win the points and that is a good combination.”

Jane Campbell and Sara Head, Paralympic bronze medallists in the women’s class 1-3 team event in London, have also developed a great partnership and have medalled in the team event at every major championship since 2009 including bronze in the World Championships four years ago. Head, 32, from Beddau took a bronze in the singles at the Europeans last year but admits that the team event is special.

Sara & Jane with medals“I really love the team event,” she said, “because you play your singles and your doubles and you have to both play well together and support each other. I’m so lucky to have a team partner like Jane and we can train hard together and motivate each other. If we can achieve a medal at the worlds together again then it will be really special. The Chinese team will be very tough and there are a few other very good teams so it will be a challenge but the one thing Jane and I like is a challenge.”

“I’ve always enjoyed team more than singles,” agreed Campbell, “although I will focus on the singles first. But I love playing with Sara and I’m lucky that we are such good friends. Past success means we can trust ourselves to go and play our best. We’ve shown we can cope with the pressure – we dealt with it in London and if we can do it there then I think we can do it in China. We seem to produce our best at major championships so I just hope the magic doesn’t wear off.”

Jack Hunter-Spivey action 3 2014The youngest member of the GB team in China is Liverpool teenager Jack Hunter-Spivey, a class 5 player who will be competing in his first World Championships. The 19 year old has recently moved to Sheffield to train full time with the GB squad and has made great progress this year to improve his world ranking from 17 to nine.

“I think I’ve improved a lot this year,” said Hunter-Spivey, “not just technically but my mental game as well. The Europeans last year was a real learning curve for me – I didn’t deal with the pressure well there but we’ve been working on that and I’ve had some big wins against high ranked players so it gives me more confidence. It will be amazing going to China – it’s the home of table tennis so you couldn’t get a better place for the World Championships.”

Aaron McKibbin (class 8) who won a bronze with Bayley in the men’s class 6-8 team competition in London has struggled with consistency this year but has some good wins against higher ranked opponents to his credit.

“I always believe I can compete with anybody in my class on my day and if I’m playing well,” said the 23 year old Sheffield based Londoner. “I’ve trained very hard and I’ve been getting good results but I need to take it one match at a time and I believe that if I focus then I can achieve a lot.”

Aaron McKibbin & Kim Daybell medals Slovenia OpenMcKibbin will team up with class 10 player Kim Daybell in the men’s class 9-10 team event and the pair could cause some surprises having taken silver in the Slovenia Open in May.

“Kim and I have been good in doubles and I think we have a chance to cause a few upsets,” said McKibbin.

Daybell, a 22 year old medical student from Sheffield, has been able to focus on his table tennis since finishing at Leeds University for the summer break at the beginning of July.

“It’s been really good to have a solid block of training since then,” said Daybell. “It has helped me find my focus again and my form. I was only 17 when I played in the last World Championships and probably wasn’t quite ready – I made the quarter finals so it would be good to try and build on that. I’m a much better player than I was four years ago and think that my level has gone up since London 2012. I’m a lot more experienced now – I know how to handle the big points and hopefully that will help me.”

The GB team is completed by former Commonwealth and European champion Sue Gilroy, who was a world bronze medallist in 2006.

“I’ve had a disappointing few years at majors,” she admitted, “but I had an operation on my shoulder two years ago and that’s the best thing I’ve done. I’ve had a really good two years since then and have medalled at every tournament I’ve played in and I’m playing so much better. I really want to medal and hopefully if I get a good draw and play to my best ability I know that I can do that.”

Davies and Bayley head GB team for World Championships

World number one Rob Davies and Paralympic silver medalist Will Bayley head a squad of nine players who will represent GB in the World Rob Davies action 4 2014Para Table Tennis Championships in China next month (September 6-15).

Davies, a former rugby player from Brecon who was crowned European champion last year, will be one of the favourites for gold in the men’s class one singles, while 26 year old Bayley will be bidding for a first World Championship medal after taking men’s class 7 European gold in 2011, Paralympic silver in London 2012 and European silver in 2013.

Jane Campbell and Sara Head, Paralympic bronze medalists in the women’s class 1-3 team event in London, took team bronze in the World Championships four years ago and have medal prospects again in both team and women’s class 3 singles. Head took singles bronze in the European Championships last year and the pair were European champions in 2011.

The full GB squad for the World Championships is:

Will Bayley, 26 (class 7)Will Bayley action 7 2014
Jane Campbell, 46 (class 3)
Rob Davies, 30 (class 1)
Kim Daybell, 22 (class 10)
Sue Gilroy, 41 (class 4)
Sara Head, 34 (class 3)
Jack Hunter-Spivey, 19 (class 5)
Paul Karabardak, 28 (class 7)
Aaron McKibbin, 23 (class 8)

“This will be the biggest test for the GB players since London 2012,” said GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. “A World Championships in China is one of the greatest challenges in table tennis and the competition is going to be very tough. We had a very successful European Championships last year but this will show us where we stand against all the top nations in the world and the work we have to do over the next two years as we build up to Rio in 2016.”

Shackleton wins World Junior title

Megan Shackleton, the youngest player in the GB Para Table Tennis Team’s Performmshackletonbioance Squad, has won the world junior title at the IWAS (International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation) World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville. The 15 year old from Todmorden took gold in the open and girls categories and also combined with Lucie Bouron to take bronze in the team event.

The 10th IWAS World Junior Games featured more than 300 athletes under the age of 23 from 31 countries and the table tennis competition included a number of players world ranked in senior competition.

After losing one of her three group matches to Wing Cheon Lau from Hong Kong, Shackleton went through to the knockout stages as the runner-up in her group and had to play another Chinese player Cheuk Him Tang, who was unbeaten in his three group matches. Their quarter final was, as Shackleton said afterwards, “a right battle”, which the British player eventually won 15-13 in the fifth.

“I think it was one of the closest matches I’ve played and won,” admitted Shackleton. “I was really pleased to beat a Chinese player as table tennis is their sport and they are basically the best in the world and it was a good match so it felt good to win it.”

A 3-1 semi-final win against GB team mate Nicko Anderson took her into the final where she beat another GB team mate Daniel Bullen 3-1 to take the gold.

Megan Shackleton action 3 2014“Beating Nicko was a good win for me,” said Shackleton, “because I do struggle against him as he is a really talented player. Daniel and I always have really close matches and in a way it was a nice match to play against a team mate knowing one of us was going to get the gold and the other would get the silver. It is always hard beating your team mates because you want everyone to do well but I’m happy that I won and it is nice to have beaten the boys.”

Shackleton has made rapid progress since making her international debut in the Belgium Open last year.

“The experience of losing a really close match in the quarter finals in Belgium really motivated me,” she said, “and meant that I’ve trained even harder because I don’t want to be in that position again. I think I’ve improved a lot this year and I’m finally starting to really understand the game and how to win matches. I find training easier than matches and I think I play better in training but I’m learning more about the tactical side.

“It feels weird to say that I’m a world champion – I didn’t think it would come so early in my career but I’ve worked hard for it and I really wanted it so I think I deserve the title. My next major goal is to win a factor 20 tournament and get into the top 20 in the world rankings and I also hope that I will be selected to play in the European Championships next year.”

Posted in GB

Davies ruled out of World Championships

Paul Davies action 4 2014London 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist Paul Davies will miss next month’s World Para Table Tennis Championships after undergoing surgery.

The 47 year old from North Cornelly, who took silver in last year’s European men’s class 1 singles and gold in the team event with fellow Welshman Rob Davies, had been suffering from a pressure sore that was not healing and required surgery and the recovery time needed will rule him out of competing in the World Championships.

“It is a great disappointment for Paul and for the team,” said GB Para Table Tennis Team Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. “Paul has been in great form this season and was a definite medal prospect in the singles for us; he and Rob would also have been favourites to take the gold medal in the team event so he will be greatly missed. However, it is most important to make sure that he recovers fully from the operation and he will be back stronger than ever next year.”

The World Para Table Tennis Team Championships will take place in China from September 6-15. The GB Team will be announced later this month.

Terry McLernon MBE honoured to carry Queen’s baton


Terry McLernon MBE (Chairman of Table Tennis Scotland and Head Coach at Drumchapel Table Tennis Club) was nominated by players and staff from the very successful Drumchapel table tennis club to carry the Queen’s Baton for part of it’s journey through Glasgow for the commonwealth games.

Terry has developed the club from zero to hero through many years of hard work and can now boast to be one of the biggest clubs in Britain with over 300 members.

Disability table tennis is also high on the agenda at the club through Terry’s passion to make table tennis available for everyone.

Terry can be seen looking very proud sporting a “Braveheart” look in his kilt carrying the baton.

Congratulations Terry we salute you !!!

Photo courtesy of Studio Cee

More medals for teenage star Shilton in Spain

The GB Para Table Tennis team’s rising star Billy Shilton has added two more medals to his international tally at the PTT Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat taking silver in the men’s class 6-7 team event with Martin Perry and a bronze in the men’s class 7 singles – his first individual medal.

There was also a first international medal for 15 year old GB Pathway Squad member Lawrence John, who took silver in the men’s class 10 team event with fellow Welshman Nathan Thomas, bronze for Development athlete Craig Allen, partnered by Ireland’s Thomas Anthony Davis in the men’s class 10 teams, and further success for GB as Barnsley’s former Commonwealth champion Sue Gilroy took gold in the women’s class 4 singles.

Billy Shilton action 5 2014Shilton, 15, from Gloucestershire, topped his group in the men’s class 7 singles with 3-0 wins over Daryl Sterling (USA) and the Norwegian Markus Koteng, and another 3-0 against the American Hunter McAloose in the quarter-finals earned him a semi-final against Ben Despineux. The Belgian world number 12, who went on to take the gold medal, is a tricky opponent and his greater experience showed as he beat Shilton 3-1.

“I was really pleased that I kept my form going from Romania last week,” said Shilton. “I find Despineux really awkward to play and I won the first set but he changed his tactics then and that worked against me. But I was really pleased with the way I played and it is great to win an individual medal.”

Sue Gilroy, competing for the first time since the Italian Open in March, also topped her group and after a 3-1 semi-final win against the German Sandra Mikolaschek she went on to beat the world number five from Korea, Ji-nam Jung, in the final by the same score.

“It was a good test for me,” said Gilroy, “because the Koreans were here and I haven’t played Sandra for about five years so I wanted to have a crack at her before the World Championships. So I’m really pleased and I can take confidence from that now into the Worlds in September.”

In the team event event Shilton and Perry progressed from their group and after beating the USA in the semi-finals they lost 3-1 in the final to the Israeli team of Samuel Shur and Daniel Bobrov.

“I was quite disappointed with how I played in the singles,” said Perry, “but I played better in the team and Billy and I got stronger with every match we played. Shur and Bobrov are a tough combination and we battled well – we lost the doubles 11-9 in the fifth and if we had won that we could have gone on to win the match.”

Nathan Thomas and Lawrence John had comfortable wins against two Spanish combinations but after winning their semi-final against Allen and Davis they lost out to the very experienced number one Spanish team of world number four Jose Manuel Ruiz Reyes and world number eight Jorge Cardona.

“It has been an intensive three days of competition in tough conditions,” said GB Pathway Team Coach Shaun Marples, “and it’s been a great experience for all the players.”

GB’s young players head to Spain

Megan Shackleton action 3 2014The youngest member of the GB Performance Squad, Megan Shackleton, who won her first individual medal in Romania last week, heads a team of young players from the GB Pathway Squad competing in the PTT Spanish Open in El Prat de Llobregat this week (June 20-22).

The 15 year old class 4 player from Todmorden will be joined by three other players who took medals in Romania – 15 year old Billy Shilton (class 7) from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire, 20 year old Martin Perry (class 6) from Paisley and 21 year old Thomas Matthews (class 1) from Aberdare.

The team is completed by 19 year old Lucie Bouron (Class 3) from Bracknell, 18 year old Conor Gordon (Class 9) from Falkirk, 15 year old Lawrence John (Class 10) from Swansea and two players who will be making their international debuts – 18 year old Nicko Anderson from Northolt and 15 year old Daniel Bullen from St Neots.

“There will be some strong opposition in Spain including a team from Korea,” said GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko, “and it will be very good experience for our young athletes to compete against players from other countries with different styles.”

Also competing in Spain will be a group of Development players including Craig Allen, Neil Innes, Josh Morgan, Nathan Thomas and Rajan Waterman as well as Barnsley’s former Commonwealth champion Sue Gilroy.

Young GB squad takes four medals in Romania

Left to right: Martin Perry, Billy Shilton (back), Megan Shackleton and Thomas Matthews

Left to right: Martin Perry, Billy Shilton (back), Megan Shackleton and Thomas Matthews

A squad of young players from the GB Para Table Tennis Team has won four medals in the in the Romania International Open in Cluj with 15 year old Megan Shackleton taking bronze in the women’s class 2-5 singles, Paisley’s Martin Perry (20) taking bronze in the men’s class 6 singles and bronze in the men’s class 6-7 team event with 15 year old Billy Shilton, and 21 year old Welshman Thomas Matthews combining with Martin Barbierik from Slovakia to take bronze in the men’s class 1-2 team event.

Shackleton, from Todmorden, is the youngest member of the GB Performance Squad and progressed to the knockout stages of the singles after wins over Giada Rossi from Italy and the Romanian Dorina Vargatu before finding the experienced Federica Cudia from Italy too good in the semi-finals.

“I think I played quite well,” said Shackleton. “I was focusing on my tactics and I’m beginning to understand more about what I need to do to win games. I’m really happy to win my first individual medal.”

Perry was also delighted to win two medals and had two good wins against the Romanians Christian Draghici and Florin Milciu in the group stages of the singles before losing his semi-final against another Romanian Bobi Simion 3-0.

“I played a bit up and down,” admitted Perry, “but in the team Billy and I really started to gel. We are really good friends and that helped us on the table. We had chances in the semi-final so we were unlucky not to get the result.”

Shilton was disappointed with his performance in the singles but played really well in the team event, winning both his singles matches in the semi-final against a Polish/Japanese combination of Michal Deigsler and Masachika Inoue.

“I didn’t play my best in the singles,” he said, “but I played well in the team event and it has been really good experience playing against players with different styles.”

Matthews, from Aberdare, also showed improved form in the team event in which he continued his partnership with Barbierik.

“I didn’t start the tournament well,” he said, “but I was happy that I came back stronger in the team. It was good to play with Martin (Barbierik) again and he is helping me to calm down. I’m starting to be more relaxed and thinking about the next point.”

Shaun Marples, GB Pathway Team Coach, said: “It has been a good tournament and all the players have benefited from the experience of playing against some very tough international opposition.”

Paralympic medalists to compete in Glasgow Open

London 2012 Paralympic medalists Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin will be among the players taking part in the Glasgow Open, the first Para table tennis tournament to be held in Scotland, from May 31-June 1 at Drumchapel High School.

Will Bayley action 4 2014Bayley, the world number two, won a memorable silver medal in the men’s class 7 singles in London and then teamed up with McKibbin and Ross Wilson to take a bronze in the men’s class 6-8 team event. The Sheffield based 26-year-old has been in great form this year, winning international tournaments in Italy and Slovenia, and is looking forward to competing in the tournament which will feature a Four Nations International between players from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“We don’t get to compete in the UK very often,” said Bayley, “and it is great to have a new tournament for Para table tennis in Scotland. We usually compete as GB so it will be a new experience to compete for England against the other home nations and I’m sure there will be some fierce but friendly rivalry. This is a big year for sport in Glasgow and they love sport in Scotland so I’m looking forward to playing there.”

Class 8 player McKibbin, 22, has also been in good form this month with team silver medals in Slovenia and Slovakia and enjoyed the best win of his career in Slovenia against the class 10 world number eight Pavel Lukyanov of Russia.

Also competing for England will be two more members of the GB Para Table Tennis Performance Squad, David Wetherill and Liverpool teenager Jack Hunter-Spivey.

Wetherill, who represented ParalympicsGB in both Beijing and London, won the National class 6 title in March and has taken medals in Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia this season, including gold in the men’s class 6 team event in Slovenia. Hunter-Spivey is one of the most promising young players in the GB Performance Squad and followed up his silver medal in the class 5 team event in Slovenia with silver in the class 5 men’s singles in Slovakia, coming back from 1-2 down to beat the world number three from Serbia Mitar Palikuca to reach his first factor 40 tournament final.

Davies and Davies take gold for GB in Slovakia

European champions Paul Davies and Rob Davies produced a great performance at the Slovakian Open today to take gold in the men’s class 1 team event and there were also silver medals for Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak (men’s class 7), Aaron McKibbin with the Belgian Marc Ledoux (men’s class 8) and David Wetherill with Valentin Kneuss from Switzerland (men’s class 6) and a bronze for Jane Campbell and Sara Head (women’s class 1-3).

Rob & Paul team medals SlovakiaDavies and Davies were involved in a titanic battle in the final with a combined team of Jean-Francois Ducay from France and the Italian Andrea Borgato, who took an early lead when Ducay, winner of the singles here, beat Paul Davies 3-0. Rob Davies levelled for GB by beating Borgato 3-1 and the Welsh duo fought back from 0-2 down in the doubles only to lose 5-11 in the fifth.

Rob Davies took a 2-0 lead against the Paralympic silver medalist Ducay, who had beaten him in the semi-finals of the singles, but the Frenchman is a determined competitor and fought back to level at 2-2. In a tense final set Davies always just had the edge and finally clinched victory on his third match point. It then came down to the final singles between Paul Davies and Borgato and after twice coming back to level the match the Welshman played a superb final game to clinch the gold medal 11-6 in the fifth.

“I don’t know where I got it from,” said North Cornelly’s Paul Davies, “it was definitely from the bottom of the barrel. I knew I could do it but five sets was hard. But a great result – especially to win another gold and to beat Borgato. I wasn’t good against Ducay but thank God Rob beat him and it came down to the veteran to do it in the final end. This is massive for our confidence – Ducay and Borgato were the strongest team here and for us to beat them – I’m over the moon.”

“It was a very tough match,” agreed Rob Davies, “four of the best players at the moment in class 1. It was a brilliant game and so close – just happy to come away with it and Paul played brilliantly. Against Ducay I’ve been there before so I have that in the bank and it was just about keeping positive. I knew what I was doing wrong so it was just a matter of changing that during the game and trying not to get nervous and playing like I can, which I think I have for the last two days.”

In their semi-final against a combined Switzerland/Korea/Kuwait team Rob Davies faced the world number four Chang Ho Lee for the first time since losing to the Korean in the final of the German Open last year and put that defeat behind him with a 3-0 win. With Paul Davies having beaten Sylvio Keller 3-0 in the first singles Davies and Davies secured their place in the final with a 3-0 win in the doubles.

Rob Davies was delighted with his win against Lee. “Not sure if it’s the first or the second time I’ve beaten him but it was a big result for me going into the Worlds as he knows I beat him 3-0 and I know how I can play against him. So a big positive and I’m well happy.”

Sheffield based Londoner Aaron McKibbin and Marc Ledoux faced a tough challenge in the final against the world number three and four from China but competed well despite a 0-3 loss. McKibbin played well in a 0-3 loss to world number four Chao Kun Ye and Ledoux lost a close match with Shuai Zhao 2-3 before a competitive doubles match ended 3-1 to China.

Aaron McKibbin action 6 2014“I was looking to play China all week,” said 22 year old McKibbin, “as it is the only chance we get to play them before the Worlds. I think I played quite well against Ye – he is obviously one of the best players in the world and it has helped me because I understand what I need to do against him so I can go back and work on it. I didn’t get the result but overall the performance and understanding of how to play him in the Worlds is what I was aiming for.”

On the way to the final McKibbin came back from 0-2 against Gyula Zborai to give GB/Belgium a great start in their semi-final against Hungary and after Ledoux beat the world number five Andras Csonka 3-0 they combined to win the doubles 12-10 in the fourth and the match 3-0.

“Hungary are one of the best teams in the world and Zborai got to the final of the singles here so I knew he was in good form,” said McKibbin. “I had a bad start to the match but I kept believing that I could come back into it. I was happy to get the win because he is a higher ranked player and he’s playing well so it’s good for me.”

Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak started well against Ukraine, Karabardak taking the first set against Maksym Nikolenko before the world number one came back to win 3-1. Bayley also made a good start against European champion Mykhaylo Popov but could not take his chances and lost 10-12 in the fourth. Bayley and Karabardak fought hard in the doubles but the Ukraine pair were too strong and clinched the gold with a 3-1 win.

Will Bayley action 4 2014“It was a tough game,” said Sheffield based Bayley, “all the games were quite tight and it was one or two points here or there – he played really good and I didn’t take my chances. We can learn from this – you learn more from your defeats maybe more than you learn from winning so that’s a good thing. It’s been a good tournament and today was just one of those days – you have them in sport. I’ll come back stronger.”

“I think we played quite well,” said Karabardak, from Swansea, “we both had chances to win our singles and didn’t and then 0-2 down going into the doubles is hard. I played well against Nikolenko and it was a shame I couldn’t have taken some of those tight points. I think I’ve played quite well here and shown that I can compete with the top players again.”

Paul KarabardakBayley and Karabardak had earlier won a very tough semi-final against an Egyptian/Polish combination that had put out China in the quarter-finals. With Bayley beating Michal Deigsler 3-0 and Karabardak losing in three deuce sets to Ahmed Sayed the GB duo found themselves 1-2 after a comprehensive 0-3 defeat in the doubles. Bayley displayed all his fighting qualities to come back from 1-2 against the very talented Egyptian Sayed for a 3-2 win and Karabardak secured their place in the final with a 3-0 win over Deigsler.

Paralympic bronze medalists Jane Campbell and Sara Head evoked memories of London 2012 in beating a Turkey/USA combination that they had lost to in Slovenia last week. Campbell came from 2-1 down to beat Pamela Fontaine but a 0-3 loss for Head against the world number seven Nergiz Altintas from Turkey and a 1-3 doubles defeat left them needing to win both of the final singles. Another great fight back from Campbell, this time from 0-2 against Altintas, levelled the scores and Head clinched the match with a 3-0 win against Fontaine.

That match won them the bronze medal and despite losing their final match against China the two GB players are taking all the positives from the experience.

Sara & Jane with medals“China are always going to be tough,” said Campbell, “and we’ve just got to try not to be afraid of them because they are China and play our game. We’ve learnt a fair bit playing them today and it is a good reminder as we haven’t seen them for a while.”

Campbell can be proud of the way she fought back twice against both Altintas and Fontaine.

“It was understanding the tactics a little bit better each time,” she said, “but also just desperately wanting a bronze medal – we always fight for a bronze medal!”

“I’ve lost to Pamela Fontaine the last three times I’ve played her,” said Head, “so I was quite fired up for that one. It was the best I’ve returned her serves and I was really chuffed – I wasn’t going to let that one go. We’ve got to make the most of the time now before the World Championships in September and preparation is going to be really important so bring on the Worlds.”

David Wetherill action 3 2014Torpoint’s David Wetherill and Swiss partner Valentin Kneuss lost the doubles against Sweden in their first match of the day but two wins in the singles for Wetherill helped to give GB/Switzerland a 3-1 win. Their final match in the round robin event against Spain was effectively a gold medal match with both teams unbeaten. World number one Alvaro Valera and Alberto Seoane, winner of the class 6 singles here, proved too strong and took the gold with a 3-0 win.

“I was disappointed not to play my best against Seoane,” said Wetherill, who also lost to the Spaniard in the semi-finals of the singles, “but I’ve only lost three games over the two weeks (in Slovenia and Slovakia) so overall I’ve had a good two weeks and it’s nice to win another medal.”

“I think we need to be happy with the final preparation tournament before the World Championships,” said GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. “To have China, Korea and some really strong European countries here was a good test for us. We will have training camps and international camps now to improve performance leading up to the World Championships in China in September and this tournament has been really good because we know what we need to do better.”

Follow the GB Para Table Tennis Team on Twitter @gbparatt