“I’ve been playing for 21 years, since the day my son was born, and now I’m a Paralympic bronze medallist,” said Welshman Davies, 45.
“I thought the Opening Ceremony was awesome when we came out into the stadium but to have that crowd in a bronze medal match – and they were behind us all the way – was unbelievable.”
“I hope I’ve inspired the younger generation who have got disabilities. There is sport out there for every disability and if they pick the right one and work hard enough, maybe they will be sitting where I am in Rio in four years’ time.”
Davies’s bronze followed Will Bayley’s silver, secured in emotional scenes on Sunday night.
After three tight games, Davies was 2-1 down against world No.4 Lee Chang Ho of Korea but levelled with an 11-5 win in the fourth.
A tense final game saw him miss two match points. His coach, 1996 Paralympic medallist Neil Robinson, called a time out but Davies missed another chance before converting the fourth opportunity.
“I don’t know what’s going on with me lately – it always seems to be going to a fifth set,” Davies added. “He is an awesome player and better than me but I treated this bronze medal match as my final. I knew what I had to do – I just had to hit the seismic serve into the crossover, and I did it.”
Two other Britons missed out on medals, however, as Sara Head was beaten by veteran Slovakian Alena Kanova and Kent teenager Ross Wilson went out to world No.2 Emil Andersson of Sweden.
Head, competing in her first semi-final in a major competition and at her first Paralympics, was pleased to be able to take a game from Kanova, the world No.3, who has won medals at every major during her career.
Head, 32, from Pontypridd, came out fighting to take the first game 11-2 but Kanova changed tactics, attacking more to take the next two, followed by an 11-3 victory in the fourth.
“Where I took my fight to her, she came fighting back. I knew it was going to be a tough one. She is a very experienced player,” said Head, a former Wheelchair Basketball player who took secret Table Tennis lessons in an attempt to beat her boyfriend and discovered she had a talent for the sport.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience – what I’ve got from it is priceless. The messages I’ve had and the support has been unbelievable and it really has lifted me up.”
Head will now concentrate on the Team event, in which she has already won a European title and world bronze with partner Jane Campbell.
“I know for a fact after our warm-up this morning that we are both playing better and better, so I know we are going to come out fighting,” she added.
The 3-0 scoreline from Wilson’s defeat was an unfair reflection of a match in which the 17 year old scored 27 points and on several occasions was unlucky to miss the table by millimetres.
“It was really good experience. I never really expected to get here in the first place,” said Wilson, twice a national doubles champion in able-bodied competition and ranked fourth in the world in class 8.
“He played really well and I’ve got to give him a lot of credit for that. Hopefully I can come back much stronger next time.”
Credits: Paralympic GB Press Release