Jack Hunter-Spivey produced a superb performance today in Las Vegas to win gold in the men’s class 5 singles, defeating the World champion in the semi-finals and the London 2012 Paralympic champion in the final. Leeds University medical student Kim Daybell took silver in men’s class 10 and 17 year old Welshman Josh Stacey took bronze in men’s class 9.
Hunter-Spivey won his two group matches against Ahad Bakshaei Sarand from the USA and the Dutchman Gerardus Van Grunsven 3-0 and reached the semi-finals with a 3-0 quarter-final win against the American Stuart Caplin. The 22 year old from Liverpool reached the final with a 3-0 win against World champion Valentin Baus from Germany and then clinched his first individual gold medal with a 3-2 win against his great friend and regular team partner Tommy Urhaug, the former Paralympic champion and World number one from Norway.
“It’s been a great tournament for me,” said Hunter-Spivey. “Two massive wins against Baus in the semi and then Tommy in the final – it’s incredible. It’s been a big goal for me to win a tournament and now I’ve finally won a tournament with some big wins and playing well so what I am doing in training is definitely paying off. I’m feeling great and what a great way to finish the season.”
Daybell topped his group with 3-0 wins against Hussein Sarfaraz Gibran from Guyana and the American Samuel Huang and as a result received a bye into the semi-finals. A win over Komet Akbar from Indonesia took him through to the final where he came up against the World number two David Jacobs in top form and the Indonesian took the gold with a 3-0 win.
“It’s a nice way to finish the season with a silver medal,” said 25 year old Daybell. “I struggled a little in the final against a tough opponent but I’m quite pleased with the way I played overall.”
Stacey began with a 3-0 win against the American Terrence Young Snr and following a 3-1 loss to World number nine Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan he secured his place in the semi-finals with a 3-0 win against Kusnanto from Indonesia. In only his second international tournament the talented teenager came agonisingly close to reaching the final, pushing World number seven Tahl Leibovitz all the way before the American eventually took the match 14-12 in the fifth.
“I’m relatively pleased with the way I played,” said Stacey. “It was good to experience playing against players that are ranked at the top end of class 9 and to lose two close matches shows that I can compete at that level. Overall it’s been a good competition and I’m looking forward to trying to win another medal in the team event now.”
After a 3-0 win in his opening game against the American Edward Schneider, Martin Perry was beaten 3-0 by London 2012 Paralympic champion Rungroj Thainiyom from Thailand and a 3-1 loss in his final group match to the Chilean Matias Pino Lorca meant that he did not progress to the knockout stages of men’s class 6.
Self-funded athlete Farrel Anthony also went out of men’s class 7 at the group stage after losing his three matches.
Paralympic champion Will Bayley was withdrawn from the tournament before the start of the singles as he is still recovering from a recent eye operation.
The tournament continues with the team event that concludes tomorrow.