by Francesca Bullock, British Para Table Tennis Team Press Officer
Every tournament this season is important in the qualification race for Tokyo 2020, notably the entry in Poland is oversubscribed which has resulted in each visiting country being restricted to eight players.
The priority for the British Para Team is players who need to earn world ranking points to improve their chances of Paralympic qualification.
Aaron McKibbin, 27 years old from London but based at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, is hoping to build on his performance in the Para Slovenia Open earlier this month when he took bronze in men’s class 8 singles, beating world no.4 Ivan Mai from Ukraine along the way.
“I was very happy with Slovenia and it’s given me a lot of confidence; since then I have just continued working hard and I’m looking forward to the competition to see what I can do. If I carry on playing at the level I was in Slovenia I believe I’ll be in the mix for a singles medal. Having gone through qualification for London and Rio, I know there are lots of ups and downs so I’ve learnt not to get too down about the lows and if there are highs not to get too carried away. The most important lesson I’ve learnt is to focus on myself, go into each competition giving my all and performing to my best. I believe I’m good enough to beat the top players in the world and if you’re doing that you will qualify for Tokyo 2020.” Aaron McKibbin
Notably, Aaron McKibbin will play the team event as well with 20 year old Billy Shilton, who also performed well in Slovenia, winning team bronze alongside Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson. He is looking to qualify for his first Paralympic Games.
“I would like to carry on the good work Billy and I did in Slovenia. It would be great if we could maintain the momentum for both of us and hopefully look for another team medal together as well.” Aaron Mckibbin.
2019 Para Polish Open: Latest results and main draws