by Francesca Bullock, Press Officer – Great Britain Para Table Tennis Team
Notably, the tournament will be Will Bayley’s first international since winning Paralympic gold in the Men’s Class 7 Singles event at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games last September.
However, the 29 year old World number one from Tunbridge Wells has been in good form at home and recently. He won the Open Standing Doubles title at the National Championships with 18 year old Billy Shilton.
“I don’t feel any more pressure as Paralympic champion. I feel like I am playing fine, not my best but I have made a lot of changes in the last few months and I feel that I am starting to get into my rhythm with my game. I am where I thought I would be at this stage of the season, maybe a little bit ahead. I’m looking forward to the challenge of Slovenia.” Will Bayley
World number one Rob Davies is also making his first international appearance since becoming the Men’s Class 1 Paralympic champion and, like Will Bayley the Welshman is focused on the European Championships later this year.
“I had a long break after Rio and this will be my first international tournament since then. Training has been going well and I’m reasonably happy with how I’m playing at this stage of the season. The Slovenia Open is always a strong competition so I know that it will be tough. My main goal for this year is the European Championships in September and that is what I am working towards, so Slovenia will give me an indication of where I am and the areas I need to improve over the next few months.” Rob Davies
Also competing in Slovenia are Rio team medallists Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson, London 2012 medallist Paul Davies, five times Paralympian Sue Gilroy and 2015 European medallists David Wetherill, Billy Shilton, Tom Matthews and Megan Shackleton.
The full squad is: Will Bayley MBE (Class 7), Paul Davies (Class 1), Rob Davies MBE (Class 1), Kim Daybell (Class 10), Ashley Facey Thompson (Class 9), Sue Gilroy MBE (Class 4), Jack Hunter-Spivey (Class 5), Tom Matthews (Class 1), Aaron McKibbin (Class 8), Martin Perry (Class 6), Fliss Pickard (Class 6), Megan Shackleton (Class 4), Billy Shilton (Class 8), David Wetherill (Class 6) and Ross Wilson (Class 8) – Minster/Sheffield