by Francesca Bullock, Press Officer British Para Table Tennis Team
The squad also includes Rio Men’s Team Class 6-8 bronze medallists Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson as well as Paul Davies, Tom Matthews, David Wetherill, Paul Karabardak, Martin Perry and Megan Shackleton, all medallists at the recent 2017 World Team Championships in Bratislava.
Notably Will Bayley is aiming to build on the performance of earlier this year when he was a bronze medallist in Men’s Singles Class 7 at the Slovenian Para Open in Lasko; the ultimate goal for the year being to peak at the European Para Championships, also to be staged Lasko in late September and early October.
“Training has been going really well. I’m playing well and practising hard. I was a bit disappointed with the way I played in Slovenia but it was good to get some match practice under my belt and feel that I can progress and start to play some of my best table tennis. I’m hoping to have a good run in the singles in Germany; it will be a tough tournament because there are lots of good players, so I’ll take it one match at a time and hopefully get some good match practice and get some confidence before the Europeans.” Will Bayley
Similarly, Rob Davies was beaten in the final of the Slovenia Para Open by the experienced Italian Andrea Borgato, who is focused on retaining the European title won in 2015 in Veile.
“Training has been going pretty well. I’ve just been enjoying my table tennis and trying to improve my level. I was quite happy with Slovenia, it was my first competition since Rio and I didn’t expect to get to the final if I’m truthful, so I was happy with silver and I’d like to go one better in Germany. I’m going there to have fun, enjoy my table tennis and do my best. Hopefully that will take me to the final; that is where I want to be and winning the gold medal if possible.” Rob Davies
Well established on the international scene, the tournament in Bayreuth will provide a stern test; it is a fact of which Gorazd Vecko, the Great Britain Para Team Performance Director, is well aware.
“Germany will be a tough test for the players. We are preparing them for the European Championships in September so this is still early in the season but performances here will show us how we stand with the other nations and what we need to work on over the next few months.” Gorazd Vecko.
The British squad is Rob Davies (Class 1), Paul Davies (Class 1), Tom Matthews (Class 1), Megan Shackleton (Class 4), Paul Karabardak (Class 6), Martin Perry (Class 6), David Wetherill (Class 6), Fliss Pickard (Class 6), Will Bayley (Class 7), Aaron McKibbin (Class 8), Billy Shilton (Class 8), Ross Wilson (Class 8) and Ashley Facey Thompson (Class 9).
2017 Bayreuth Para Open: Draw and Latest Results