Todmorden teenager Megan Shackleton (class 4-5) and Swansea’s Paul Karabardak (class 6) struck gold in Hungary today and on a good day for the GB Para Table Tennis Team Ross Wilson took silver (class 8) and there were bronze medals for Billy Shilton (class 7) and Tom Matthews (class 1).
Karabardak was reclassified at the start of the tournament from class 7 to class 6 and the 29 year old came through his group with wins over Michael Jensen of Denmark and the Japanese player Junki Itai to set up a semi-final against Mars Gabdullin from Russia. A 3-1 win took him into the final against Bobi Simion from Romania and he showed great character to fight back from 1-2 down to take the gold 11-8 in the fifth.
Shackleton topped her group after 3-0 wins against Jelena Sisic from Croatia and the Romanian Dorina Vargatu and then won her semi-final against Monique Sirgant from France 3-1 to reach the final. Despite losing a tight third game against the Austrian Helke Koller 14-12 the 15 year old fought back to level the match at 2-2 and then took the deciding game 11-4 to take the gold.
Sheffield based Wilson, from Minster in Kent, was playing in only his second competition since taking a bronze medal in London 2012 and came through his group impressively with 3-0 wins against Zborai (Hungary), Berthier (France) and Wassink (Netherlands). The 19 year old then defeated the Ukrainian Ivan Mai 3-0 in the quarter-finals to set up a semi-final against Andras Csonka, the world number five from Hungary. After dropping the first game he came back to win the next three and book his place in the final against Linus Karlsson. The Swedish player was formerly class 10 and has moved from class 9 to 8 this year and although Wilson twice fought back to level the match Karlsson clinched the deciding game 11-6 to take the gold.
Shilton, 16, from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire, finished second in his group, losing only one match to the Japanese Katsuyoshi Yagi, and fought back hard to win the second game 18-16 and level his semi-final match against Anikanov. But the Russian, who has been reclassified this season from class 8 to 7, used his greater experience to take the next two games and clinch his place in the final and went on to take the gold medal.
A great win against world number seven Jae-kwan Cho from Korea and a 3-0 win over Janos Kaiser from Hungary sent Matthews into the knockout stages as group winner and gave him a bye into the semi-finals against another Hungarian Endre Major. The Welshman never really got into the match in a 3-0 loss but this was nevertheless an improved performance by the 22 year old former mountain bike rider.
Sheffield based London athletes Aaron McKibbin (class 8) and Ashley Facey Thompson (class 9) reached the quarter finals, McKibbin losing 3-0to French world number 8 Thomas Bouvais and Facey Thompson going down 3-1 to the home favourite and world number 13 Dezso Bereczki.
Self-funding GB athlete Nathan Thomas reached the final of the men’s class 10 singles after a 3-0 win over the Hungarian Bela Szigeti in the semi-finals and although he was no match for Krisztian Gardos from Austria in the final he picked up a well-deserved silver medal.
The tournament continues with the team competition that concludes tomorrow.