09 Sep 2016

Unexpected defeat one day earlier for Great Britain’s Will Bayley at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the top seed and reigning World champion in Men’s Singles Class 7; on the second day of action, Friday 9th September, the 28 year old born on Poole in the south of England was back with vengeance.

After having experienced defeat against Brazil’s Israel Stroh in four games (10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), he beat China’s Liao Keli in three straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-7).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Furthermore, the result means that whatever happens in the concluding group stage contest; that between Israel Stroh and Liao Keli, a minimum second place is assured.

Players finishing in first and second places in all singles events, advance to the main draw. If Israel Stroh beats Liao Keli, the situation is clear; if defeat, games ratio favours Will Bayley.

Played great

“First match, the crowd, the problems with services being faulted and not moving well all contributed to my defeat yesterday”, said Will Bayley. “Israel Stroh played really great, he played better than I have ever seen him play; the crowd lifted him, I think my level was fine but he deserved to win.”

It was a very disappointed Will Bayley immediately after his defeat but having had time to assess the situation and calm down; matters were not as bad as he may have thought immediately after the reverse.

Time factor

However, time was a vital factor in the recovery.

“It was really good for me that I had to play at 9.00am this morning and not later tonight”, explained Will Bayley. “I thought about the match last night but if I would have had to spend a lot of time thinking about the match today, I may not have done so well.”

New challenge

The disappointment had been set aside, coached by Gorazd Vecko, the Great Britain Performance Director, history was laid to rest; a new challenge beckoned.

“I knew that I must beat Liao Keli, I knew that I must beat a player from China”, stressed Will Bayley; China may be the stronghold of the sport but never forget whether from China or from the Land of Green Ginger, they are players and that fact must be born in mind.

“I think my play was solid today, every game was close but I played the big points well”, stressed Will Bayley. “Maybe I was lucky to win three-nil but the main thing is I am through to the main draw; now I can enjoy myself!”

Future in doubt

Meanwhile, also through to the main draw in Men’s Singles Class 7 is Ukraine’s Maxym Nikolenko, the no.2 seed and, as a result, the future of Germany’s Jochen Wollmert, the winner in both Beijing and London, is in doubt.

On the opening day of play, he was beaten by Maxym Nikolenko (4-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7); pertinently on the second day of play, Maxym Nikolenko accounted for Frenchman Stéphane Messi (11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6).

Memories of Athens

Thus second place depends on the outcome of the contest between Stéphane Messi and Jochen Wollmert.

Additionally the decision rests between two gold medallists; at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Stéphane Messi beat Jochen Wollmert in the final of Men’s Singles Class 7 to clinch the gold medal.


Paralympics Will Bayley Gorazd Vecko Liao Keli