Campbell ‘can’t wait’ for quarter-final
Londoner progresses in table-tennis competition
London’s Jane Campbell and close friend Sarah Head both made it through to Table Tennis singles quarter-finals with victories at ExCeL last night.
But five of Great Britain’s squad were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.
Head and Campbell, who both compete in Class 3, practiced together before the evening session and the extra knock paid off.
Cheered by family who had travelled from the USA and South Africa, Campbell followed a testing five-set morning victory over Mexico’s Edith Sigala with a 3-1 win over Nergiz Altintas of Turkey later on.
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Campbell, who trains in Newham, said: “I played a million times better than my first match. It’s such an achievement to get through the group. It’s as much as I could have hoped for.
“Playing here has just been the best experience ever and I can’t wait to play again.”
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Campbell plays Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlquist for a place in the semi-finals while Head, who beat Italy’s Michela Brunelli in five sets, now faces Mateja Pintar, of Slovenia.
She said: “We all want to keep playing because it is so amazing out there. It does inspire you because you want to play another game.
“I’m thrilled with the way I’m playing. The atmosphere is incredible and exhilarating. The feeling and buzz is phenomenal.”
Of those who were knocked out, Sue Gilroy was most upset after a four-set defeat to Korea’s Sung Hye Moon left the veteran from Barnsley second in her group, out of the qualification spots for the Class 4 semi-finals.
“This is my fourth Paralympic Games and I desperately wanted a medal but it has been a fantastic experience and the crowd were amazing,” said the 39 year old.
“I felt very comfortable out there and played well so I’m very disappointed.”
Scott Robertson, David Wetherill, Kim Daybell and Victoria Bromley all saw their singles campaigns brought to an end.
Cheshire player Robertson, who lost 3-0 to Czech Rene Taus, said: “I just didn’t feel like I had my va-va-voom because I think the game yesterday took a lot out of me.”
Wetherill, from Cornwall, went down 3-1 to Germany’s Thomasz Kusiak, leaving him bottom of his group in Class 6.
He said: “I was nervous and tense and not playing freely on my backhand, top-edging quite a lot. My coach said, ‘Relax, play your game and trust your ability,’ but I wasn’t able to do that.”
Daybell missed out in Class 10 after a lengthy day that began with a 3-0 win over Brazil’s Carlos Carbinatti and ended with a five-set defeat to China’s Hao Lian.
“I gave it my best. I had my opportunities but I could not quite take them,” he said. “It’s been the best experience of my life. I just wish I could have won and carried it on.”
Bromley, from Wolverhampton, suffered her second successive 3-0 defeat, to Ka Man Wong of Hong Kong, but felt she had improved on her opening loss and gained experience of the raucous arena.
“Instead of ignoring the crowd I thought I’d take it all in this time and I played a lot better as a result,” she said.
There is another day of group matches before the knockout stages begin, with four players – including medal favourite Will Bayley, who had a day off on Friday – still needing victories to progress.
Swansea’s Paul Karabardak started his campaign in Class 7 by beating Young Sung Kim of Korea 3-0, with his second match due today.
“We’re not used to this type of arena and this type of crowd so it struck me a bit but when I started playing the fans cheering added to my playing ability and it was really exciting,” he said.
Robert Davies began with an apparently comprehensive 3-0 victory over Ireland’s Philip Quinlan but said: “I was a bit nervous and didn’t play my best.
“I’ve got to win both my matches to get through my group. It was my first Paralympic Games match so brilliant to get off with a win.
“I made it hard work for myself at times but hopefully I’ll play better next time.”
He faces Frenchman Jean-Francois Ducay in his second Class 1 preliminary match on Saturday morning.
In group C of the same event, Paul Davies (who is no relation) must also win, against Beijing gold medallist Andreas Vevera of Austria, to progress.
Davies started his Paralympic campaign by beating Italian Andrea Borgato 3-0 and said: “There are no disadvantages with that crowd behind you. Even if you are tired you can’t feel any pain, you can’t feel anything. I could reach anything – I was Superman out there.”