Tokyo Paralympic medallists Paul Karabardak and Billy Shilton head a squad of nine British athletes competing in the ITTF Polish Para Open in Wladyslawowo from May 26-28. They are joined by two-time European team medallist Ashley Facey, World doubles champion Grace Williams and Pathway athletes Theo Bishop, Joe Crouse, Andrew Guy, Daniel Mead and Bly Twomey.
Welsh teenager Daniel Mead, a former U11 National champion, will be making his international debut and 13-year-old Bly Twomey, who has been training with World champion Will Bayley at Brighton Table Tennis Club will be competing for the first time in women’s class 7 having been classified at the Costa Brava Spanish Open in March.
“We’re looking forward to Poland,” said BPTT Programme Manager Shaun Marples. “It’s a good opportunity again for the Pathway players to gain some valuable experience in the middle of a Paralympic qualification period. We have a nice balance between Pathway and Performance players and with the Performance players getting to the latter rounds of the tournament it helps the Pathway players in terms of their learning and development.
“Bly is going for her second competition but her first as a class 7 so it will be exciting to see how she gets on and we’ve also got Dan Mead going for his first competition for classification. With them being 13 and 14 years old respectively, it is a very young team and going to Poland, which has a great reputation for producing really good players, will be a great learning experience for them. We’ve also got Theo who is going to Poland off the back of some good results in Slovenia and hopefully he can take some more scalps and put in some more good performances. He has been in the hall this week training extremely hard and playing well and all this experience the Pathway players are gaining both on and off the table is definitely shaping their development in the right way.
“It will also be good to have David McBeath with us on the coaching team in Poland. He’ll be working with the Pathway players for the first time and it’s a good opportunity for him and shows the team how we’re working together and how we all play our roles.”
The full list of British athletes competing in the ITTF Polish Para Open is:
Theo Bishop, 19, Rossendale/Sheffield (class 7)
Joe Crouse, 20, Falmouth (class 9)
Ashley Facey, 28, London/Sheffield (class 9)
Andrew Guy, 37, Bovey Tracey (class 2)
Paul Karabardak, 37, Swansea (class 6)
Daniel Mead, 14, Cardiff (class TBC)
Billy Shilton, 24, Stonehouse/Sheffield (class 8)
Bly Twomey, 13, Brighton (class 7)
Grace Williams, 19, Llanfyllin/Sheffield (class 8)