Jack Hunter-Spivey

Jack ready to live the dream in Rio

Author:
Paul Stimpson

Publish date:

Please note - this news article was published more than four years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

The Paralympics get under way on Wednesday, with 13 Paralympic GB table tennis players travelling with high hopes of a big medal haul.

We start our countdown to the big day by focusing on the four players who will feature in singles competition only in Rio.

Jack Hunter-Spivey (21, Liverpool)
Class: SM5

“Preparation has been going really well. Tommy (Urhaug) was in Sheffield last week training with me – he won gold in London so that was really good practice for me for the Games and I couldn’t be in a better situation, really.

“The Paralympic Inspiration Programme in London was a massive influence on me and it gave me a big fire in my belly to get to Rio as sitting in the crowd in London was amazing but it wasn’t where I wanted to be – I wanted to play.

“It means everything to me to be going to a Paralympic Games – I’ve dreamt about this since I was a little kid. It is my first Games so experience is going to be a massive key point for me.

“I haven’t got any overall goals of a medal but I do know that on my day I can beat anyone in the world, so I’m just going to play my best table tennis and see what happens.”

Sue Gilroy (age 43, from Barnsley)
Class: SF4

Gilroy

“The top six or seven players (in my class) are all the same standard. It is a very mentally tough sport and it is basically about who is toughest on the day.

“Obviously winning a medal would be a career highlight. I’ve won world silver and bronze and been European champion and double Commonwealth champion but this is the only one that has always eluded me. But all I can do is my best.

“I’m playing the best table tennis of my career – I beat the world number one last year and in the World Championships in 2014 to get silver and I’ve been very close to the Chinese players, so fingers crossed I can get that medal this time.”

David Wetherill (26, Torpoint)
Class: SM6

Wetherill

“We had a really good training camp in Slovenia two weeks ago and I know that all the hard work is in the bank. It is about performing on the day now.

“Experience does count for a lot – I’ve done it all before and I’m trying to stay away from all the razzmatazz that goes with a big event. I feel quite calm and hopefully I’ll be able to focus on the job in hand and handle the nerves and pressure better this time.

“I feel that I am improving as a player week by week but I have no expectations – obviously I have dreams but I am not thinking in terms of outcome.

“I’ve just got to go and put into practice all the hard work I’ve done and enjoy the challenge.”

Paul Karabardak (30, Swansea)
Class: SM6

Karabardak

“I’ve been training hard and I’m pleased with the way I’m playing, so I think I’m in a good place and looking forward to getting to Rio and playing now.

“The experience of Beijing and London will be a big help for me. My goal would be a medal but ultimately I want to play well and give my best and if I can do that then I can win a medal, so my aim is just to go out and play my best.

“Representing ParalympicsGB in Rio means a lot to me because it is so tough to qualify for a Paralympic Games so to be going to my third as one of the top players in my class makes me feel really proud.”

The table tennis tournament begins on Thursday – reports on this website and keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the latest news.

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