Doubles gold for Wilson in Poland

Doubles gold for Wilson in Poland

Ross Wilson combined with Croatian teenager Borna Zohil to win gold in the men’s class 18 doubles on the last day of the ITTF Polish Para Open in Wladyslawowo, defeating teammates Joshua Stacey and Ashley Facey in the final, while Fliss Pickard and 13-year-old Bly Twomey followed their gold medal winning performances in the singles by taking bronze in women’s class 14.

Men’s class 18

Joshua Stacey and Ashley Facey progressed to the knockout stages as group winners after winning 3-0 against Mio Wagner from Germany and Vit Spalek from Czechia and 3-0 against class 10 Para PanAmerican silver medallist Manuel Echaveguren Farias and Cristian Dettoni from Chile. They were 2-1 down in their quarterfinal against Jan Reinig from Germany and David Pulpan from Czechia but came back to level at 2-2 and take the deciding set 11-4 and went through to the final after a 3-0 win against Banyu Tri Mulyo and Komet Akbar from Indonesia in the semi-final.

Wilson and Zohil received a walkover in their first match when their opponents Henrik Meyer from Germany and Liu Chaodong from China withdrew and then lost in five sets to Mulyo and Akbar. They progressed to the quarterfinals after a 3-1 win against Talgat Erekeyev and Ali Makhulbekov from Kazakhstan and after dropping the first set came back to beat Bunpot Sillapakong and Chalermpong Punpoo, the Asian Para Games bronze medallists from Thailand 3-1. Wilson and his young partner were 2-1 down against class 8 Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist Andras Csonka from Hungary and class 10 Asian Para Games medallist Lin Chun Ting from Chinese Taipei but edged a close fourth set 13-11 and took the deciding set 11-8 to win 3-2.

In the final Wilson and Zohil made the better start and led 2-0, 8-4 but Stacey and Facey kept fighting and having come back to take the third set 11-9 they took the fourth 11-4 to level the match. In the deciding set Wilson and Zohil always just had the edge and they took it 11-8 to win the gold.

“It was nice to play with Borna and it worked out in the end,” said Wilson. “I’m really happy with my performance in the doubles and I feel like I played well but I’ve still got more to offer.  So, winning an international competition and still thinking that you can do more is a great feeling. I’m proud of how I played in the doubles and even in the singles I had some positives. It was a shame to lose to the Chinese player in the semi-final, but I’ve got to reflect on that now and do my best to come back stronger.”

After disappointing results in their singles Stacey and Facey showed great resilience to come back with a better performance in the doubles although they were ultimately disappointed not to finish with a win.

“It was a decent match,” said Facey. “We didn’t start well and although we played better towards the end it wasn’t good enough.”

“The difference was my receive was poor and it put Ashley on the back foot,” said Stacey.

Women’s class 14 RR

Fliss Pickard and Bly Twomey started with a 3-0 win against Freja Larsen from Denmark and Barbara Jablonka from Poland and then lost in four close sets to the class 6 World number four Katarzyna Marszal from Poland and class 8 World number five Sophie Kelmer from Brazil. They started well against class 8 Nina Reck and class 6 World and European doubles medallist Morgen Caillaud to lead 2-0 but the German/French partnership came back to level at 2-2 and took the deciding set 11-7.

Pickard and Twomey secured bronze with a typically determined performance in their final match against class 8 World number four Yuri Tomono from Japan and class 6 World number six Gabriela Constantin from Romania, taking the deciding set 11-8 after Tomono and Constantin had come back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2.

“Bly and I work really well together,” said Pickard. “It’s been a tough competition, but we never stopped fighting and that’s the main thing. It’s exciting to see how good we can get as a partnership in the future.”

“I’m learning a lot from playing with Fliss,” said Twomey, “as it makes me more consistent and better at movement. She is an amazing player and I love playing with her. Andrew (BPTT head coach Andrew Rushton) helped a lot and gave us some brilliant coaching. This is our second time playing together and I’d hoped we could do a bit better but it’s a learning curve and I’m very happy to finish with a win.”

Men’s class 8

Jack Hunter-Spivey and class 2 Canadian Peter Isherwood were drawn in a tough group and did not progress after losing 3-0 to World champions Kim Jung-gil and Kim Young-gun from the Republic of Korea and 3-0 to Mladen Ciric and Mitar Palikuca, the European bronze medallists from Serbia.

Women’s class 10

Megan Shackleton and class 5 World number eight Caroline Tabib from Israel lost 3-1 to the class 5 pair of former World champion Kang Oejeong and World number three Jung Young A from the Republic of Korea. They were 3-0 winners against Hatice Duman from Turkey and Zorica Popadic from Serbia and fought back from 2-0 down against Lee Mi Gyu from Republic of Korea and Flora Vautier from France to level at 2-2 but did not progress after losing the deciding set 11-6.