03 Oct 2017

Great Britain’s Kim Daybell has come so close to winning a major medal, losing in 12 quarter-finals; on Monday 2nd October at the 2017 European Para Championships in Lasko, Slovenia, it proved to be lucky 13 today for the 25 year old.

Partnering Ashley Facey Thompson, the duo put up a brilliant performance to beat the World team silver medallists Russia by two matches to one to reach the semi-finals of Men’s Team Class 10.

Francesca Bullock, British Para Table Tennis Team Press Officer

After topping their group Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey Thompson were unlucky to be drawn against the experienced Russian team of Pavel Lukyanov and Iurii Nozdrunov.

However, they played superbly to win the vital opening doubles, before Ashley Facey Thompson fought hard against Iuri Nozdrunov but the World number three had just too much experience for the 22 year old Londoner. He levelled the overall score.

It left Kim Daybell to play the deciding singles against Pavel Lukyanov and he made a great start taking the first game 11-5 before the Russian came back to edge the second 12-10. Kim Daybell’s spectacular top spin defence away from the table can so often frustrate opponents and so it proved in the third game. The Russian camp called “Time Out” with Pavel Lukyanov leading 10-9; Kim Daybell levelled at 10-10 and then hung on tenaciously, saving several game points before clinching the game 14-12. It proved to be the pivotal point in the match as the Leeds University student seized control.

“The doubles was massively important. We’ve played better here than we have ever played before, really working well together; it goes to show that if you do win that one, you really put yourself in with a massive shot. They were the number three seeds and we were unlucky to draw them so it was a really nice way to win.

The third game against Lukyanov was a difficult game; it wasn’t pretty and I think we were both quite nervous. I just had to find a way to crawl over the line and it was nice to be able to come through. I think it settled me; I knew I had stolen it away from him a little bit and I think that was in his mind as well. I just thought as long as I put in a solid performance here then I think I will be able to take it and that is what I did.”

“I’ve been part of a lot of quarter-finals and it has been a real hard struggle. Class 10 is such a tough class but it means even more to win in team because Ash and me have been trying for a long time to win a medal together and I think when you share something like that it just makes it all the better.” Kim Daybell

Ashley Facey Thompson is also assured of his first major medal and the Class 9 player is starting to fulfil his potential since moving to Sheffield to train full time with the British squad in the summer.

“We played very good doubles against France and Russia, better than we have ever played together. Training full time has improved me a lot as a player and to be with Kim and to feel that we have an equal partnership now is great. I felt really good against Nozdrunov and was buzzing from the doubles. I tried my hardest but he came through at the end with quality and experience but I’m happy. Words can’t describe how it feels to win a major medal, we have been close four times but we’ve worked hard and the outcome is at least a bronze so I’m really happy. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now, we have nothing to lose and we can give it our all.” Ashley Facey Thompson

Spain’s José Manuel Reyes, Jorge Cardona and Juan Bautista Perez, the no.2 seeds, await in the penultimate round; in the opposite half of the draw Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski and Igor Misztal oppose the Netherlands combination of Bas Hegerlink and Emanuel Martins Ferreira.

The contests are scheduled for Tuesday 3rd October.

2017 European Para Championships: Forthcoming matches and latest results

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Paralympics Para Table Tennis Kim Daybell Ashley Facey-Thompson

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