Silver for Daybell and Facey Thompson at European Para Table Tennis Championships
Great Britain picked up two medals at the European Para Table Tennis Championships in Lasko, Slovenia, on Wednesday with Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey Thompson picking up silver.
The pair beat Rio Paralympic silver medallists Spain 3-2 in the semi-final of the men’s class 10 to reach the final where they were beaten 2-0 by world champions Poland.
Aaron McKibbin, Ross Wilson and Billy Shilton took bronze in men’s class 8 after coming through a quarter-final against France with a 3-0 win.
Daybell, 25, and Facey Thompson, 22, started their day in perfect fashion with a 3-0 win in the doubles with the latter then pushing World and European champion Jose Ruiz Reyes to five sets.
It wasn’t to be for Facey Thompson, despite saving two match points to level at 2-2, as the Spaniard closed out the match 11-6 in the deciding fifth set.
It meant Daybell needed a win against Jorge Cardona in his singles rubber and he delivered as he took the fifth set 11-6 to win 3-2 and earn the pair a spot in the final.
Against Poland in the final, the pair took the first set of the doubles before Patryk Chojnowski and Igor Misztal fought back to claim a 3-1 win and the early advantage.
And Facey Thompson was unable to stop Misztal in the singles going down 3-1 as the Polish grabbed the gold medal, but the 25-year-old Brit was delighted to reach the final.
“We could easily have been happy with the bronze but we pushed on and beat a quality team and I’m really happy with that,” said Facey Thompson.
“Class 10 is not my class but I feel that I am in the mix and playing strongly against them. They are having to battle and that’s giving me more belief to go and perform against the players in my class.”
Meanwhile Daybell felt the success demonstrated the pairs’ ability to push on and become one of the very best in the world.
“Ash is playing great now and I am hopefully going to be able to improve my level a bit more and if we can keep going there is no reason we can’t become one of the best teams in the world,” he said.
“It really did mean a lot to win silver, and to win it with Ash and share that experience - it is something we have both been working for a long, long time so it is good.”
Meanwhile Wilson and McKibbin both won their singles to come from behind and beat World team bronze medallists France having lost the doubles in their quarter-final.
They were unable to get past Ukraine, who had world champion and world number one Viktor Didukh in their ranks, in the semi-final but McKibbin refused to be too downbeat.
“It was a team effort – Billy’s support was amazing and Greg [coach] on the bench and I think that also made the difference in the end,” McKibbin said.
“I think this major has been one of the hardest for me as I’ve had a few niggling injuries coming in so it has been a bit of a mental battle but I’m really happy to come away with a medal.”
Paul Karabardak, David Wetherill and Martin Perry, already assured of a medal, came through their semi-final and will play Croatia for gold in the final of men’s class 6 on Wednesday.
But it wasn't to be for Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton as they lost their third match of the round robin stage - they will play their final match against world champions Serbia on Wednesday.