Rob Davies and Aaron McKibbin, who both won gold medals in the Slovenian Open earlier this month, will be looking to build on that success in the Bayreuth Open in Germany this week (May 29 – June 1). They will be joined by three other members of the GB Para Table Tennis Team – Paralympic bronze medalists Jane Campbell and Sara Head and fellow Paralympian David Wetherill.
Former rugby player Davies, world ranked number six in men’s class 1, recorded superb victories against the world number one Andreas Vevera from Austria and the Frenchman ranked world number three, Jean-Francois Ducay, in Slovenia and has the Korean world number four Chang Ho Lee in his sights this week.
“I’d like to tick him off my list,” said the 28 year old Welshman, who has been targeting victories over the top players this season to move up the rankings before the European Championships in September. “I was really happy with my performance in Slovenia and I’ve been training hard since then so I’m targeting a gold medal in the singles in Germany.”
Davies won gold in the team event in Slovenia with his fellow Welshman Paul Davies but will compete in the team event in Germany with Silvio Keller from Switzerland, with whom Paul Davies won gold in the team event in Slovakia last week.
McKibbin, a member of GB’s bronze medal winning men’s class 6-8 team in London 2012, put up a great performance in the final of the men’s class 8 team event in Slovenia to win gold, winning both his singles matches against the higher ranked Belgians and combining with Fabian Rignell of Sweden to win the doubles. The 21 year old Sheffield based Londoner is looking to continue that form in Germany.
“I was very pleased with how I played in the team final in Slovenia and I’m feeling quite positive,” said McKibbin, who is ranked 15 in the world. “I’ve had a good week of training and I want to build on what I achieved in Slovenia. This will be my last competition before the European Championships so I will just try and play as well as I can and see what happens.”
Campbell and Head won a bronze medal in the women’s class 1-3 team event in the Lignano Masters Open in Italy earlier this year and will be hoping for further medals in the singles and team events in Germany. Having missed both Slovenia and Slovakia, Campbell, 44, from London, will be keen for some match practice ahead of the European Championships, while 32 year old Head, from Beddau in Wales, won a class 3 team bronze in Slovenia with Frenchwoman Valerie Gay.
Wetherill, from Torpoint, will be making his first competitive appearance since London 2012 and the 23 year old world ranked number five faces tough opposition on his return with the top four in the world all due to compete in the men’s class 6 events.
The players from the GB Para Table Tennis Team Performance Squad competing in Germany are:
Jane Campbell (Lives London) – Class 3
Rob Davies (Lives Brecon) – Class 1
Sara Head (Lives Beddau) – Class 3
Aaron McKibbin (Lives Sheffield; home town London) – Class 8
David Wetherill (Lives: Torpoint) – Class 6
For further information, please contact the GB Para Table Tennis Team press officer Francesca Bullock on 07768 515841 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org