Vecko looks to Tokyo after successful European Championships for British team

One year after winning two gold medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games the British Para Table Tennis Team has enjoyed its most successful European Championships in the modern era with seven medals in the singles events and three team medals including gold in men’s class 6. Paralympic champion Rob Davies won his third consecutive European singles title and led a historic one, two, three for Britain in men’s class one – the first time that Britain has won all three medals in one class.

“I am very happy that we had 10 medals and seven in singles,” said British team Performance Director, Gorazd Vecko, “which is showing that we are going in the right direction towards Tokyo. It was a tough championship and a long seven days of competition and I am very proud of all the players. For Kim Daybell in his 13th time in a major quarter-final to finally get a medal and for he and our class 9 player Ashley Facey Thompson to take silver in men’s class 10 was one of the big points for us and to take all three medals in men’s class 1 was definitely the highlight.

Gorazd Vecko interview Euros 2017“Our men’s class 6 team became European champions and beat the World silver medallists Croatia who they lost to in the semi-finals in the World Championships and we had a lot of good results in the singles events as well. The performance of our young players like Tom Matthews, Martin Perry, Billy Shilton and Megan Shackleton shows the strength of our development programme since London 2012 – they have all come through the Pathway programme and are now part of the Performance Squad, competing in major championships and winning medals.

“All the players showed great character – they were really engaged, believing in themselves and fighting for every point. None of the players disappointed me. Winning and losing is part of sport but they all tried their best. We had close matches like the men’s class 6 final and it is always good to win these matches. In the team event the players on the bench were really supporting the team which shows we have the right culture in place and it is not about who will play, it is about how to make the team win, so I was really proud of everyone.

“In March next year we start the qualification period for Tokyo and hopefully we can continue to progress and have the chance to win medals in 2020. I always say that you need to qualify first then everything is possible.”