A young GB squad picked up six medals in the Para TT Open Ciutat del Prat in El Prat de Llobregat, Spain with 17 year old Megan Shackleton and 21 year old Felicity Pickard taking medals in singles and team events.
Class 4 Shackleton reached the semi-finals of the women’s class 4-5 singles with a 3-1 win against class 5 World number six Caroline Tabib from Israel and took the first set against former European champion and World and Paralympic medalist Ingela Lundback before the very experienced Swedish former class 5 World number one came back to win 3-1. Shackleton then combined with 21 year old Lucie Bouron to take bronze in the women’s class 3-5 team event, losing their semi-final to Turkey, who went on to take the gold.
“I feel I’ve played at a consistently good level throughout the tournament,” said Shackleton, “and to get the win over Tabib is promising for the future. Winning a bronze in both singles and team shows to me that I’m putting all the hard work in and starting to see some good results.”
Pickard topped her group in the women’s class 6-7 singles with comfortable wins over Pilar Gonzalez from Spain and Agnes Ekblad Frosemo from Sweden and lost a very close semi-final to the eventual gold medalist Fatma Fattakhova from Russia, 11-9 in the fifth. She and Fattakhova then took bronze in the women’s class 6-10 team event after losing their semi-final to the Hungarian/German partnership of Bettina Bicsak and Marlene Reeg.
“I am pleased to win another medal,” said Pickard, “and I feel I am learning more and more with every experience. I feel I could have played better in the semi-final but this will only make me work harder and come back stronger than ever at future tournaments.”
Swansea teenager Lawrence John topped his group in men’s class 10 with wins over Angel Garrido from Spain and Fatih Erdem from Turkey and reached the semi-finals after a 3-0 quarter-final win against teammate Josh Morgan. The 18 year old was not disgraced in losing in three close sets to the World number nine Jorge Cardona from Spain and was delighted to win his first international singles medal.
“I’m extremely happy with my performance and results,” said John. “I felt as though I played well, especially during the early matches, and was clinical in finishing them. I felt as if I stood a good chance also in the semi-final against Cardona where all three sets were close and I just missed out.”
Paisley’s Martin Perry also took bronze in the men’s class 6 singles, progressing from his group in second place and then beating fellow Scot Conor McAdam 3-0 in the quarter-finals before taking a set off World champion and World number one Alvaro Valera in the semi-finals.
“I felt that my performance wasn’t what I know it can be,” said Perry. “I had to really dig deep at times, mentally and physically, but to come away from the competition with a bronze medal and losing 3-1 to the world number one – I’m happy with that result. Knowing that I have the Romania Open next week will make me want to kick on with my level of play and hopefully by the end of the two weeks I’ll be playing the table tennis I want to be playing.”