by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the final hurdle Rob Davies beat compatriot Tom Matthews (11-7, 11-4, 11-9), having one round earlier overcome fellow Welshman, Paul Davies (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5).
“It feels pretty amazing. It was a very emotional semi-final playing Paul. To say he has been through a hell of lot in the last 12 months is an understatement and for him to come back and perform like that shows what he is made of and the character of him. For Tom as well, to win the semi-final shows how much the Great Britain Para table tennis is coming on and the young players are improving all the time. The World title next year would be nice. That is definitely my aim, I didn’t think I would be in the final here to be honest but I’ve done it, dug deep and battled through every match and got there. It gives me a lot of confidence. I’ll be better prepared next year, lose some weight and get back in the gym and hopefully I’ll be in better shape again for the Worlds next year.” Rob Davies
Notably Rob Davies and Paul Davies are from South Wales; sadly soon after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Paul Davies’ wife passed away.
Great Britain the dominant force in Class 1, in Class 3 Germany was very much to the fore. Thomas Schmidberger, the top seed, beat Frenchman Florian Merrien, the no.2 seed (11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9) to secure the title and extract a touch of patriotic revenge. In the penultimate round, Florian Merrien had beaten Thomas Brüchle, the no.4 seed and defending champion (10-1211-7, 19-17, 11-8). In the counterpart semi-final, Thomas Schmidberger had beaten Sweden’s Carl Ohgren, the no.3 seed (9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8).
It was the second time in his career that Thomas Schmidberger had won the title; in 2013 he was anointed champion in Lignano.
Gold in Lignano, for Turkey’s Ali Ozturk, competing in Class 5, it had been silver; in the final in Lasko, the top seed, he beat Frenchman, Nicolas Savant-Aira, the no.4 seed, in the final to secure the top prize (11-6, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9).
Earlier, Ali Ozturk had beaten Serbia’s Mitar Palikuca, the no.3 seed (11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5), the quarter-final winner in opposition to Germany’s Valentin Baus, the no.2 seed and defending champion (11-9, 11-8, 11-8).
Undoubtedly a watershed win, it was for Ali Ozturk the first European Para Championships gold medal of his career.
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