Scotland’s most successful male table tennis player Martin Perry is included in a squad of 11 British athletes looking to consolidate or improve their chances of qualification for this summer’s Paralympic Games at the US Para Open in Corpus Christi, Texas next week (January 16-18).
The 29-year-old from Dumbarton followed up his men’s class 6 singles bronze in the World Championships in 2022 with bronze in the European Championships in Sheffield last September and with his current world ranking of nine is in a good position to qualify for his first Paralympic Games in Paris.
“Training post-Europeans has been going really well,” said Perry, who recently became a father when his wife Siobhain gave birth to their daughter Beira. “I’m playing at that consistently high level I showed at the back end of last year so I’m really happy with that and I’m looking forward to the US Open. I won it in 2016 but it’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and it would be nice to go back and hopefully earn another title. It’s not going to be easy because there are some good players going there but I’ll do the best that I can.
“It is nice being in a position very close to automatic qualification for Paris and to be fighting for that spot and feeling good, but I can’t rest on my laurels. I’ve got to keep focused and make sure I do enough to get over the line in these next few tournaments and hopefully that will be enough to get me qualified and representing ParalympicsGB in the summer.”
Perry will be joined by European men’s class 5 silver medallist Jack Hunter-Spivey and six members of the Performance Squad who are looking to bounce back from disappointing results at the European Championships – World silver medallist Joshua Stacey, World bronze medallist Aaron McKibbin, Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist Paul Karabardak, Tokyo team medallists Billy Shilton and Megan Shackleton and former two-time European team medallist Ashley Facey – as well as Confirmation athletes Chris Ryan and Theo Bishop and Pathway athlete Romain Simon who all showed promise on their major championship debuts at the Europeans last year.
The qualification period for the 2024 Paralympic Games finishes at the end of March and there will be a final chance for athletes to qualify at the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament taking place in Thailand from May 23-25.
The full British squad for the US Para Open is:
Aaron McKibbin, 32, London (Wandsworth)/Epsom – class 8
Ashley Facey, 28, London (Stratford)/Sheffield – class 9
Billy Shilton, 25, Stonehouse (Gloucester)/Sheffield – class 8
Chris Ryan, 32, Welwyn Garden City – class 2
Jack Hunter-Spivey, 28, Liverpool/Sheffield – class 5
Joshua Stacey, 23, Cardiff/Sheffield – class 9
Martin Perry, 29, Paisley/Dumbarton – class 6
Megan Shackleton, 24, Todmorden/Sheffield – class 4
Paul Karabardak, 38, Swansea – class 6
Romain Simon, 34, Leyton/Chigwell – class 3
Theo Bishop, 20, Rossendale/Sheffield – class 7