by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Paul Karabardak is from Swansea in south Wales; Martin Perry is from Paisley in the lowlands of Scotland, whilst David Wetherill hails from Plymouth in the south west of England.
It was David Wetherill who emerged as the hero of the hour; in the vital third and deciding match of the fixture against the host nation, he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to secure a tension packed success against Gabriel Cseniy (7-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 12-10), as locals tried their best to raise Slovakian aspirations.
The win came after Paul Karabardak and David Wetherill had suffered a doubles defeat against Gabriel Cseniy and Alexander Nagy (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9) and Paul Karabardak had levelled matters by beating Alexander Nagy (11-5, 13-11, 11-9).
“The first match is always very difficult and I respect the Slovakian players very much. Off court, we are very good friends so it was tough to play and especially they have home ground advantage. I’m happy that we were able to score a win but now we have to move on and focus on the next match as a team. There is a big rivalry between England, Scotland and Wales, so for Paul, Martin and myself to play together representing Great Britain is of huge significance to us. So far, it has been working well.” David Wetherill
A United Kingdom and although playing on Slovakian soil did the British team have an advantage, one which added to the international flavour; one which added salt into the wound?
The coach sitting courtside was Sasa Dragas. He hails from Vinkovci in what is now Serbia and is assisting the Great Britain Team at various tournaments in agreement with Gorazd Vecko, the Performance Director. Currently, he is at the helm of a training centre in Prievidza, a town in Slovakia about a two hour drive from Bratislava.
The role at the training centre is relatively new; the previous role? Coach for the Slovakian Para Team!
2017 World Para Team Championships: Draw and Latest Results