Pickard fights back to take Spanish gold on Costa Brava

Pickard fights back to take Spanish gold on Costa Brava

Fliss Pickard staged a tremendous comeback from 2-0 down against Katarzyna Marszal to beat the former World champion from Poland 3-2 in the final match of the women’s class 6 round-robin singles event at the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open in Platja d’Aro today. Andrew Guy (men’s class 1-2), Martin Perry (men’s class 6) and Alex Bland (men’s class 7) all took bronze in their respective events.

Women’s class 6

After two wins from two yesterday in the round-robin event Pickard’s final match today against World number six Marszal was to decide the gold medal and she showed all her character and determination to fight back after losing the first two sets and take the next three 11-4, 11-7, 11-4.

The 27-year-old from Burnley just missed out on qualification for Tokyo and was delighted to get back to winning ways.

“The singles tournament here has been good for me,” she said, “especially to be here with the younger Pathway squad players and see their improvements. I feel I have shown that when I am in control of my base game I can beat anyone in the world and I need to try and go in at this level from 0-0. It is always nice to win gold – another little step to where I want to be. Now I can’t wait for the team event with my amazing partner Grace (Williams).”

Men’s class 1-2

After topping his group Andrew Guy had earned a bye into the semi-finals today where he was beaten 3-0 by the Frenchman Julien Michaud. The 36-year-old from Bovey Tracey is competing in his first international tournament here and was understandably delighted to take a medal.

“It was a really special experience for me playing at my first international competition,” he said. “I’ve learnt a lot about match preparation and now have a feel for the pressure on the international stage. I couldn’t have foreseen coming away with a medal so I’m over the moon with this and look forward to competing again soon.”

Men’s class 6

Martin Perry had also secured a bye into the semi-finals as group winner. He and his opponent Esteban Herrault had played three close matches in 2019 all won by Perry but today it was the Frenchman’s turn and he beat Perry 3-0 before going on to win the final and take the gold.

“It wasn’t a bad performance to be honest,” said Perry. “I thought I played a decent level but Herrault was just a little bit better. Of course, I’m disappointed to come away with bronze especially being seeded second, I was hoping to get to the final but on the positive side I think I’ve highlighted a few areas where I want to work on in training and improve. It has felt good to be back playing and fighting for wins and world ranking points and the hunger is still definitely there. I’ve had some tough matches and been able to win them. There is plenty to work on and I’m looking forward to team event now with Alex.”

Men’s class 7

After winning both his group matches and his quarter-final Alex Bland found Maksym Chudzicki, the Paralympic bronze medallist from Poland, just too strong in the semi-finals, losing the match 3-0.

“I think the singles went OK,” said the 22-year-old from Rotherham. “I don’t think I played my best but even when I wasn’t playing great I still managed to pull out a win by showing guile and composure – that is until I played Chudzicki. In that match he just played a little too good and I would have had to have been on the top of my game to win. There are plenty of things to take away from this tournament so far to work on and come back stronger next time.”