Silver for Bayley in Singapore and bronze in Spain for Facey and Stacey

Silver for Bayley in Singapore and bronze in Spain for Facey and Stacey

World number one Will Bayley had to settle for silver in the Para men’s singles at the Singapore Smash today and on the final day of the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Open in Platja D’Aro Ashley Facey and Joshua Stacey took bronze in the men’s class 18 doubles.

The inaugural Para showcase at the Singapore Smash, one of the leading events in world table tennis, featured 21 of the best players in men’s and women’s classes 6 and 7 – 12 men and nine women.

Bayley came through his group with 3-0 wins against Marios Chatzikyriakos from Greece, and two former Paralympic champions Stephane Messi from France and Rungroj Thainiyom from Thailand. He took on World number three and two-time European champion Jean-paul Montanus from Netherlands in the semi-final in a repeat of the European Championship final last September and it was Bayley who came out on top again in a 3-1 win.

He found himself 2-0 down in the final against Chalermpong Punpoo and although he took the third set 11-5 the World number seven from Thailand, gold medallist in the US Open in January, took the fourth 11-7 for a 3-1 win.

“He’s always been a top 10 player,” said Bayley, “and if you’re not ‘on it’ in sport you can lose. I had a slow start in the final and didn’t get going until the third set and left myself with lots to do. I’ll be back much stronger because of this result.”

In the women’s singles 13-year-old Bly Twomey progressed from her group with 3-0 wins against Yang Bok Soon from Korea and Katarzyna Marszal from Poland. She took on the World number one Kelly Van Zon in the semi-final and twice levelled the match before the three-time Paralympic champion used all her experience to take the deciding set and the roar of triumph from Van Zon was some indication of the challenge that the Brighton teenager had presented.

“This has been an unforgettable experience,” said Twomey, who trains with Bayley at Brighton Table Tennis Club. “I think after winning two gold medals in Italy last week it really boosted my confidence. I was really happy to play Kelly again. Although I didn’t win I learnt a lot and I’m looking forward to going back home and improving and coming back stronger. Kelly played an amazing match and I’m happy to get to the fifth with her. I have had so much fun watching the top able-bodied players and I can’t thank everyone at British Para table tennis enough for sending me here.”

At the Costa Brava Spanish Open Ashley Facey and Joshua Stacey progressed to the quarterfinals of the men’s class 18 doubles with wins against Ivan Karabec from Czechia and Richard Csejtey from Slovakia 3-0 and Nathan Pellissier and Ma Lin from Australia 3-1. They beat Banyu Tri Mulyo and Komet Akbar from Indonesia 3-1 and twice came back to level in their semi-final against Mateo Boheas and Thomas Bouvais but the World bronze medallists from France took the deciding set 11-8 and the match 3-2.

“I thought the quarterfinal was pretty good,” said Stacey, “we were very solid and made sure we set each other up well. In the semifinal I think potentially if we had been a bit better tactically going into the fifth set the margins for error would have been a bit larger and we would have had more room to play a bit freer. I don’t think it was a bad performance - I think a partnership in doubles is always going to be a work in progress based on the fact that you and your partner are always going to want to improve – and it’s obviously disappointing not to have got to the final and potentially won the tournament.”

“It wasn’t good enough in the semi-finals,” said Facey. “I didn’t play so well but Josh and I were united as a team which was good. It was a tight match and anything could have happened and so we’re disappointed not to get to the final.”

In men’s class 14 Billy Shilton and Martin Perry led Ben Despineux and Krizander Magnussen 2-0 but the Belgian/Norwegian partnership came back to win 3-2. A 3-1 win against former World champions Jordi Morales and Alvaro Valera from Spain kept them in contention but they went out after a 3-0 loss in their final match to Huang Jiaxin and Peng Weinan from China.

Grace Williams and Fliss Pickard could not find the form that won them the women’s class 14 World title in 2022 and were beaten 3-1 by Gabriela Constantin from Romania and Yuri Tomono from Japan, 3-1 by Wong Yue Ching from Hong Kong, China and Nora Korneliussen from Norway and 3-0 by Morgen Caillaud and Lucie Hautiere from France.

Tom Matthews and Jack Hunter-Spivey did not progress in men’s class 8 after losing to Shi Yanping from China and Genki Saito from Japan 3-0, Maciej Nalepka from Poland and Lucas Carvalhal Arabian from Brazil 3-0 and Kim Jung-gil and Kim Young-gun from Korea 3-0.