Martin Perry and Paul Karabardak in action (ITTF picture)

British team stay in hunt for Para medals

Author:
Francesca Bullock

Publish date:

It was another successful day for the British team on day two of the PTT World Team Championships in Slovakia.

It began with a win for Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton in their second match in the round-robin women’s class 4-5 event against the World Championship silver medallists Chinese Taipei. The pair combined to beat Lu Pi-chun and Lee Ya-Chu 3-1 in the doubles and Gilroy then won a close first set against Lu 12-10 before going on to beat the Chinese Taipei No 1 3-0.

“Megan and I played much better in the doubles and there is definitely more flow in our partnership today,” said Gilroy. “Last week was our first time playing together after a year gap but I think we are starting to understand each other as the tournament goes on.”

Gilroy and Shackleton play their final two matches today against Germany and top seeds Serbia which will decide the medals.

Paul Davies and Tom Matthews are a new partnership for Britain in men’s class 1 and the Welsh pair lost the opening doubles in their second round-robin match against Italy, as they did when the two teams met in the Slovenia Open last week. Once again Davies kept them in the tie with a 3-1 win against Andrea Borgato and Matthews fought off a spirited challenge by Federico Falco – taking the deciding singles 12-10 in the fifth after the Italian had come back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2.

“I feel that our doubles is improving with every game,” said Matthews, “and we were unlucky not to pinch the first set. Paul had a great singles against Borgato to level the score and after going 2-0 up against Falco I think I relaxed a bit too much – I was playing a bit too safe and he changed his game to suit him. Being down in the fifth set was difficult but I kept my nerve and managed to come out on top. It’s a great win as Italy are one of the favourites.”

“I played much better against Borgato,” said Davies. “Our doubles is getting better so we need a good start tomorrow.”

Medals in men’s class 1 will be decided today and Davies and Matthews play their final two matches against Hungary and top seeds Korea.

Britain’s second group match in men’s class 6 was a repeat of the European Championship final in 2015 which they lost to Denmark. Martin Perry and Paul Karabardak were 1-0 down after the doubles today following a 3-1 loss but Perry played superbly to beat the Paralympic champion Peter Rosenmeier 3-1 to level the tie and Karabardak then fought back bravely from 2-0 down against Michael Jensen to take the deciding singles 11-3 in the fifth and win the match for his team.

With two wins from two the British players are in pole position but need to beat Chile in their final group match to be sure of progressing to the semi-finals.

With Ross Wilson still hampered by a back injury Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton continued to fly the flag for Britain in men’s class 8 and they narrowly lost their final group match to Chinese Taipei. McKibbin and 18-year-old Shilton fought back from 2-0 down in the doubles to level at 2-2 but Hu Ming-Fu and Hou Ting-sung took the final set 11-6 to take a 1-0 lead. McKibbin was then edged out by former World No 1 Hu in the first singles, 12-10 in the fifth.

The result means that Britain do not go through to the knockout stages but will instead play-off for their finishing position in the event, starting against Germany this afternoon.

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