by Francesca Bullock, British Para Table Tennis Press Officer
Notably Rob Davies won gold in Men’s Singles Class 1 with Tom Matthews securing silver and Paul Davies bronze; it is the first time in a major International Para Tournament that Great Britain has secured all three medals.
Meanwhile, Paul Karabardak, Martin Perry and David Wetherill, set new heights; they combined to win the Men’s Team Class 6 event.
Gorazd Vecko, the British Team Performance Director, reflects on tournament that underlines consistent progress.
“I am very happy that we had 10 medals and seven in singles which is showing that we are going in the right direction towards Tokyo. It was a tough championship and a long seven days of competition. I am very proud of all the players.
For Kim Daybell in his 13th time in a major quarter-final to finally get a medal and for he and our class 9 player Ashley Facey Thompson to take silver in Men’s Team Class 10 was one of the big points for us and to take all three medals in Men’s Singles Class 1 was definitely the highlight.
Our Men’s Class 6 team became European champions and beat the World silver medallists Croatia, who they lost to in the semi-finals in the World Championships and we had a lot of good results in the singles events as well.
The performance of our young players like Tom Matthews, Martin Perry, Billy Shilton and Megan Shackleton shows the strength of our development programme since London 2012; they have all come through the Pathway programme and are now part of the Performance Squad, competing in major championships and winning medals.
All the players showed great character. They were really engaged, believing in themselves and fighting for every point. None of the players disappointed me. Winning and losing is part of sport but they all tried their best. We had close matches like the Men’s Class 6 final and it is always good to win these matches. In the team event the players on the bench were really supporting the team which shows we have the right culture in place and it is not about who will play, it is about how to make the team win, so I was really proud of everyone.
In March next year we start the qualification period for Tokyo and hopefully we can continue to progress and have the chance to win medals in 2020. I always say that you need to qualify first then everything is possible.”