Theo Bishop, who belied his world ranking of 44 to reach the quarterfinals of the men’s class 7 singles at the European Championships in Sheffield earlier this month, is hoping to build on that performance at the ITTF Finland Para Open taking place in Pajulahti from September 29-October 1.
The 20-year-old from Rossendale is part of a squad of 10 British Para table tennis athletes which also includes two other athletes who impressed on their major championship debuts in Sheffield – 13-year-old Bly Twomey who took bronze in the women’s class 7 singles and former GB wheelchair rugby captain Chris Ryan – as well as Tokyo Paralympic medallist Megan Shackleton.
Bishop showed that he has the temperament for the big occasion by beating higher ranked and more experienced opponents in Sheffield and pushing the World number two and two-time European champion Jean-paul Montanus all the way in the quarterfinals before the Dutchman secured a hard-fought 3-1 win.
“I think I can reflect positively on the Europeans,” said Bishop. “I said before the tournament I was going for the experience - I wasn’t even seeded to get through my group so to top the group and get to the quarterfinals and have major chances against the World number two - it’s a huge achievement for me.
“I really think I’ve made a breakthrough. There is always that thing in the back of my head saying maybe I was just playing well but I do think something clicked at the Europeans and I can bring out my level better than I could in the past and that is massive for me. I can’t wait to get back in the hall and I hope this form continues going into Finland.”
The full British squad for the Finland Para Open is:
Andrew Guy, 38, Bovey Tracey (class 2)
Beth Kyte, 32, Sheffield (class 1)
Bly Twomey, 13, Brighton (class 7)
Chris Ryan, 32, Welwyn Garden City (class 2)
Craig Allen, 28, Bromsgrove (class 9)
Daniel Thomson, 18, Brighton (class TBC)
Jacob Wicks, 18, Cwmbran (class TBC)
Megan Shackleton, 24, Todmorden/Sheffield (class 4)
Shae Thakker, 20, High Wycombe/Sheffield (class 10)
Theo Bishop, 20, Rossendale/Sheffield (class 7)