by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
David Wetherill is from England, Paul Karabardak from Wales and Martin Perry from Scotland.
At the final hurdle, the top seeds, they beat the Croatian pairing of Pavao Jozic and Vjekoslav Gregorovic by two matches to nil to claim the precious title.
In a tension packed encounter Paul Karabardak and David Wetherill combined to win the doubles, before in similarly tense five games duel, Paul Karabardak accounted for Pavao Jozic; a contest in which Andrew Rushton, the Great Britain coach, played a vital role. Paul Karabardak lost the first two games but recovered to force a decider. In the vital fifth game, he lost the first three points, Andrew Rushton called “Time Out”, the break worked, Paul Karabardak lost just four more points, gold was in British hands.
“I was frustrated because I knew I could stay in the game with him; so to be two-nil down and him to be dictating the game and me trying to force the play, I knew I had to change things and try and control the game, which I did. I started getting the ball on the table and I think he started to get a bit nervous and I was able to capitalise on that. When I was 3-0 down at the start of the fifth Andrew said “move the ball around”’ which I did and I managed to get back into it. I’m over the moon with the way I played against a top opponent who has had a good competition. It’s very special, my first major gold and I’m so pleased that I could play my best table tennis and help the team to become European champions.” Paul Karabardak
It was a second medal at the 2017 European Para Championships for 27 year old David Wetherill; earlier he had been the silver medallist in Men’s Singles Class 6.
“We knew from the start that the doubles would be really important and if we could go into the singles one-nil up then Paul could play relaxed and we would be in a very strong position to take the victory. I’ve got to pay big credit to Tim Pitt our psychologist because he has really helped me in the past few years; that part of table tennis is massive, especially in the finals and the major medal matches. I think we played the important points well today. I was so glad Paul won because I was a nervous wreck watching from the bench. He played amazingly and I’m really proud of him.” David Wetherill
Tough tasks for Paul Karabardak and David Wetherill but Martin Perry, sitting watching on the bench, had surely the toughest task of all
“It’s been great being part of this team; these guys have a bank of knowledge and experience that I can feed on. It has been incredible being able to help and support them in any way I could, both in the training hall and by being supportive on the bench. Hopefully that energy transfers on to the table because we are in this together. I think the guys have played amazing throughout. I was down to play in the first match but I wasn’t needed so it shows that we have strength in depth in this team. We are going forward I’m sure there is much more success to come for us.” Martin Perry
Praise from a Scotsman; they do say that Scots like to win but they are happier if the English lose; not in Lasko.
2017 European Para Championships: Forthcoming matches and latest results
2017 European Championships: Latest News
2017 European Championships: Daily Bulletin
2017 European Championships: Live Stream