May 21 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Table-tennis squads earn podium spots
Great Britain bagged two team bronze medals at ExCeL last night to bring their table tennis haul to four, the most ever at a Paralympic Games.
The men’s class 6-8 trio of Will Bayley, Ross Wilson and Londoner Aaron McKibbon beat Germany 3-0 to add to the singles medals won by Bayley and Paul Davies.
And the women’s pair of Sara Head and Jane Campbell battled back from two matches down to beat Italy 3-2 in the class 1-3 group.
The British pair, good friends away from the table, battled through a five-match epic in Thursday’s quarter-final with Turkey and they had to repeat their heroics tonight against a strong Italian team.
Once Campbell had lost to Michela Brunelli in four games, and Head to Pamela Pezzutto by the same score, Head finally got the Britons on the scoresheet with a hard-fought victory over Brunelli, 14-16, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.
Campbell responded to her friend’s example, beating Pezzutto in three games to set up the deciding doubles. Head and Campbell won the first game against Pezzutto and Clara Podda but lost the next two and were again staring defeat in the face.
But the Britons have shown their resolve more than once in this tournament and they did so again to take the final two games, 11-3, 11-4, and the bronze.
Campbell, who trains in Newham, said:“It was so many mixed emotions, from thinking we were out, to the fightback that Sara put up.
“I just thought, I’m not going to give up either, and that was it. Off we went and it just got better and better.”
Head, who lost her class 3 singles bronze medal match earlier this week, added: “To be so close and to smell it, mentally it was hard work coming back into this, having been so close and wanting so much to come away with a medal. We’ve done it. It’s fantastic.”
The men’s victory was in stark contrast as Bayley and Wilson needed only three singles matches, and 66 minutes, to sweep away the Germans.
Wilson set the tone, outplaying Thorsten Schwinn in 16 minutes, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5, before Bayley avenged his Class 7 singles final defeat by seeing off Jochen Wollmert by a similar score.
The German, who has won five Paralympic gold medals, floored Bayley in an emotional five-game final last Sunday, but the 24 year old Brit won this time in 20 minutes, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.
Wilson finished it off, beating Wollmert in another three-gamer, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10, meaning McKibbon didn’t even need to unzip his tracksuit top.
Ccoch Greg Baker explained how they had beaten Wollmert twice in 40 minutes.
“Will has played Jochen Wollmert eight times since Beijing and the only time he lost to him was in the final here. So we calmed him down, we went back to the tactics that win him matches and he did the same,” said Baker.
“It was good that he played him before Ross because Ross watched how Will played him so Ross could do exactly the same. Ross kept his nerve and he dealt with the pressure really well to bring it home for us.”
Bayley added: “To beat Wollmert was pretty special. They are going to be the best in the world and it is a privilege to play with them. This is quite a good team and we are going to be even better in Rio.”
McKibbon added: “I’m glad I didn’t get to play as it would have meant it was down to the doubles.
“If I had said a year ago that I was going to come here and win a medal I think that would have been very unrealistic.
“We were upset not to be through to the final but I’m very happy to have a bronze medal.”