A squad of young players from the GB Para Table Tennis Team has won four medals in the in the Romania International Open in Cluj with 15 year old Megan Shackleton taking bronze in the women’s class 2-5 singles, Paisley’s Martin Perry (20) taking bronze in the men’s class 6 singles and bronze in the men’s class 6-7 team event with 15 year old Billy Shilton, and 21 year old Welshman Thomas Matthews combining with Martin Barbierik from Slovakia to take bronze in the men’s class 1-2 team event.
Shackleton, from Todmorden, is the youngest member of the GB Performance Squad and progressed to the knockout stages of the singles after wins over Giada Rossi from Italy and the Romanian Dorina Vargatu before finding the experienced Federica Cudia from Italy too good in the semi-finals.
“I think I played quite well,” said Shackleton. “I was focusing on my tactics and I’m beginning to understand more about what I need to do to win games. I’m really happy to win my first individual medal.”
Perry was also delighted to win two medals and had two good wins against the Romanians Christian Draghici and Florin Milciu in the group stages of the singles before losing his semi-final against another Romanian Bobi Simion 3-0.
“I played a bit up and down,” admitted Perry, “but in the team Billy and I really started to gel. We are really good friends and that helped us on the table. We had chances in the semi-final so we were unlucky not to get the result.”
Shilton was disappointed with his performance in the singles but played really well in the team event, winning both his singles matches in the semi-final against a Polish/Japanese combination of Michal Deigsler and Masachika Inoue.
“I didn’t play my best in the singles,” he said, “but I played well in the team event and it has been really good experience playing against players with different styles.”
Matthews, from Aberdare, also showed improved form in the team event in which he continued his partnership with Barbierik.
“I didn’t start the tournament well,” he said, “but I was happy that I came back stronger in the team. It was good to play with Martin (Barbierik) again and he is helping me to calm down. I’m starting to be more relaxed and thinking about the next point.”
Shaun Marples, GB Pathway Team Coach, said: “It has been a good tournament and all the players have benefited from the experience of playing against some very tough international opposition.”