03 Mar 2017

Paralympic and World champion Will Bayley heads the list of athletes who will compete in the Para classes at the English National Championships, play commenced in Nottingham on Friday 3rd March.

Listed in top spot on the Class 7 Men’s World Rankings, the 29 year old will be in action alongside Aaron McKibbin, Billy Shilton and David Wetherill; the trio all present at the recent Lignano Masters Open in Italy.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Francesca Bullock)

Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton are both Class 8 players, David Wetherill is Class 6; on the world stage, let alone the national arena, all are most competitive.

Notably at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the trio comprising Will Bayley, Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson secured Men’s Team Class 6-8 bronze.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd at the Nationals. It will be good to play well and try and impress them so I’m looking to win if I can. It is hard to compete against team mates, we all know each other’s styles of play inside out which makes the games closer, so you have to play as well as you can but you know it can go either way, you just have to try and do what you can to win the match”, Will Bayley MBE

Furthermore, Will Bayley would appear to be in good form; at the Draycott Para Open staged in the east Midlands area of England earlier this year, he completed a clean sweep of titles.

“It was really good to get some match practice in as I’ve been doing a lot of training but haven’t played many matches. I’ve been working on trying to change my game a little bit and I was pleased with the way I played. I’m working really hard on my weaknesses so it is going in the right direction”, Will Bayley MBE

Equally, David Wetherill is looking forward with great anticipation at a time when Para table tennis in the United Kingdom is at an all-time high.

“I’m really looking forward to the Nationals. People in the United Kingdom hear what we are doing but they don’t get the opportunity to see us play too often. I really want to go there in good shape and try and play my best because I think that is important. I’m looking to try and win because I know on my day I can compete but it is going to be difficult so we’ll see what happens. First and foremost it will be nice to put on a good show for the public”, David Wetherill

It is the second year that Table Tennis England has included events for Para athletes in the National Championships; events for Classes 3-5, Classes 6-8 and Classes 9-10 will be staged.

Pertinently, the competition provides a major opportunity for members of Great Britain’s Pathway group to compete against the more experienced Performance squad players.

Follow the PG Mutual National Championships, live from the David Ross Sports Village in Nottingham

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Paralympics Para Table Tennis Will Bayley David WETHERILL