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.
Bayley, 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.