Vecko happy with performance of young squad at World Team Championships

Aaron & Billy v SWE World Champs 2The British team ended the inaugural PTT World Team Championships in Slovakia on a winning note today as Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton won their final play-off match against Slovakia to secure 7th place in men’s class 8. After the British pair fought back from 2-1 down to win the doubles, 18 year old Shilton pushed former World champion Richard Csejtey in three close sets despite a 3-0 loss before McKibbin won the match with a 3-0 victory over Josef Krsiak.

GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko was happy with the performance of his young squad at these championships.

“To bring four teams here and take three bronze medals is a good result,” he said, “especially as it is still early in the season and our priority this year is the European Championships so we are preparing our players to produce their highest level in September. We didn’t bring our two best players Rob Davies and Will Bayley – our gold medallists from Rio – and we wanted to give experience to our younger players as whatever we do over the next four years is all preparation for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“For our men’s class 6 team to beat the European champions Denmark and for David Wetherill to beat the Paralympic champion from Rio, Peter Rosenmeier, was an incredible performance by the whole team and I was really happy to see three players from England, Wales and Scotland all working really well together.

“For Megan Shackleton to play the Paralympic champion in a major championship was very valuable experience and to get her first World medal shows great promise for the future – she and Sue Gilroy proved that they can compete against the best teams in the world in women’s class 4.

“In men’s class 1 we lost out on the gold on countback although we beat Italy who took the gold. We were without our best class 1 player Rob Davies so that was a good result and Tom Matthews showed that he is also a great prospect.

“Ross Wilson was unable to play due to a back injury so we also have to be happy with men’s class 8 as we were able to give more experience to Billy Shilton who was playing in his first World championship. He and Aaron McKibbin were disappointed not to go through to the knockout stages but they came back and won their two play-off matches, which was a really good performance.

“I was very proud of the whole squad as they all showed great fighting spirit in all their matches. We came here wanting to give experience to our young players so we need to be happy with three medals at our first World Team Championships.”