by Francesca Bullock, British Para Team Press Officer
Although the 14-strong squad includes two Paralympic champions in Will Bayley and Rob Davies, as well as Commonwealth champion Ross Wilson and nine other athletes that have already medalled at World, Paralympic or European level, it is still a young team that has the potential to be even better in Tokyo 2020.
Gorazd Vecko explained:
“We didn’t change very much in the way we usually prepare for a major competition. We had a training camp in Slovenia in September with a lot of good sparrers and athletes from nine different countries, which I think was even better than in previous years. Then we had a final preparation camp in Sheffield which also worked really well.
For the first time I don’t feel that the athletes are really nervous before a major championship. In 2014, a week before we went to China for the last World Championships everything was wrong and they were struggling but this time they are more mature and understand what they need to do and how to be the best prepared.
I think we have done the most to prepare them and the players have made the most of every opportunity we have given them and they are ready.
Obviously we are looking for medals and I believe we will take some medals. With the young athletes what I am looking for is an improvement in world ranking; so if the players can beat someone ranked above them then it is a success for them.
For example, Megan Shackleton and Fliss Pickard are competing in their first World Championships and are still young, so for them it is about getting experience and becoming familiar with major competitions. They could take a medal here but I believe they will be very important for our squad in the future and will definitely medal in majors in the future.
With two years to go to Tokyo this will be a very important milestone for us. For me it is very important to see where we are against the top players in the world. The World Championship is harder than a Paralympic Games because you have more players and more countries are fighting for medals so it is a massively important tournament for us.”
The full British squad for the World Championships is:
Men: Will Bayley MBE (Class 7), Paul Davies (Class 1), Rob Davies MBE (Class 1), Kim Daybell (Class 10), Ashley Facey Thompson (Class 9), Jack Hunter-Spivey (Class 5), Paul Karabardak (Class 6), Tom Matthews (Class 1), Aaron McKibbin (Class 8), David Wetherill, 28 (Class 6), Ross Wilson (Class 8)
Women: Sue Gilroy MBE (Class 4), Fliss Pickard (Class 6), Megan Shackleton (Class 4)
2018 World Para Championships: Results and Draws