There were two medals for the squad of young British Pathway and Development athletes in the team events on the final day at the PTT Czech Open in Ostrava, with teenagers Jack Stockdale and Shae Thakker taking bronze in the men’s class 9-10 team and 22 year old Lucie Bouron picking up bronze in the women’s class 1-5 team with her Chilean partner Tamara Leonelli Leonelli.
Bouron and Leonelli Leonelli came through their group with 2-0 wins against combined teams from Argentina/Netherlands and Israel/Greece. That set up a semi-final against the class 3 World number four Andela Muzinic and World number 10 Helena Dretar and the Croatian pair proved too experienced for the young British/Chilean combination, winning the doubles 3-0 before Muzinic clinched their place in the final with a 3-0 win against Leonelli Leonelli.
“I’m feeling pleased with this tournament,” said Bouron. “I feel that I’ve played some good table tennis here and that has been shown by my medal in the team event. There are definitely some positives coming through in my matches and some areas to take home and work on.”
Stockdale, 17, from Romford and 14 year old Thakker from Slough lost their opening group match to Czech Republic but progressed to the semi-finals after a 2-0 win against Craig Allen and his Hungarian partner Barnabas Retter, with Stockdale defeating Retter 3-0 in the first singles to clinch the tie.
The young British pair were no match for Poland in their semi-final, losing the doubles to the more experienced Pawel Konstantyn and Pawel Jablonski before Stockdale was beaten by Igor Misztal in the first singles.
“Being able to play in my first senior tournament was a great opportunity for me,” said Stockdale. “Even though I didn’t play my best I came away with a lot of things to work on. Overall it was a good learning curve for me and I was very happy to win a medal in the team event with Shae.”
“This tournament has been extremely challenging for me,” said Thakker. “I haven’t been at my best but it has shown me the areas that I need to work on and start to develop. I will learn from the experience and reflect on it in order to improve. I’m very happy to win a medal in the team event with Jack.”
Dan Bullen and Philippe Durieux from France lost their four matches in the round-robin men’s class 5 event while in men’s class 6-7 Conor McAdam and Assaf Gofer from Israel went out after losses to Croatia, Slovakia and Japan, and Ryan Henry and Alex Bland also went out of men’s class 8 at the group stage after losses to Poland and a combined team from Hungary and Thailand.