“It means a lot to beat the world champions and shows we’ve got a really world class team.”
Will Bayley and Billy Shilton partnered for the first time this season, and the British duo put on a strong debut, toppling world champions Spain 3-1 for the gold in the men’s class 7 team event at the para-table tennis Slovenia Open on Saturday (9 May) in Lasko.
The British pair dominated throughout for a 3-0 win to move 2-1 ahead and carried the momentum into the final game.
“Everyone here is a top player and to play against top players all the time, you have to believe you can win,” Shilton said. “It is great to play with someone like Will – the way he fights for every single point is something I need to bring into my game more.”
Added Bayley: “It means a lot to beat the world champions and shows we’ve got a really world class team. Hopefully we’ll get to play Ukraine soon and compete for major medals - that is what I want to do.”
Great Britain was strong from start to finish, claiming five medals in the singles events on Thursday (7 May), including gold for Paul Karabardak in men’s class 6, and silvers for Bayley and Rob Davies (men’s class 1). Jane Campbell (women’s class 3) and Kim Daybell (men’s class 10) both took bronze in their respective events.
“Overall the performance of the team was great and now we go on to Slovakia and try and maintain the results there and then later this month in Germany,” Great Britain’s performance director Gorazd Vecko said.
Brazil’s Carla Azevedo and Catia de Silva Oliveira caused one of the biggest surprises on the penultimate day of play. The pair beat the top-seeded combination of Russia’s Nadejda Pouchpacheva and Jordan’s Maha Al-Bargouthi in the women’s team class 1-2.
Winner one year ago, Poland’s Karolina Pek once again struck gold in the event, taking the women’s singles class 9 title on Thursday (7 May).
Entering as the No. 4 seed, Pek turned heads last week by being the only player who did not occupy the top-seeded position in her respective class to win gold.
For complete results, visit ITTF website.