Three silver medals for British team in Kazakhstan doubles events

Three silver medals for British team in Kazakhstan doubles events

The British Para table tennis team took three medals in the doubles events on the final day of the ITTF Astana Para Open in Kazakhstan with Will Bayley and Martin Perry (men’s class 14), Megan Shackleton with Tamara Leonelli Leonelli (women’s class 5-10) and Grace Williams with Raisa Chebanika (women’s class 14) all taking silver in their respective events.

Men’s class 14

Will Bayley and Martin Perry were 3-0 winners against Artem Iakovlev and Alexander Esaulov, competing as individual neutral athletes, and then beat Sunnatillo Murodullaev from Uzbekistan and Cristian Dettoni from Chile 3-1. They finished top of group 1 after a 3-0 win against Aidos Mukashev and Nurkozha Kadyrbek from Kazakhstan and came through their semi-final against Kevin Dourbecker and class 7 former Paralympic champion Stephane Messi from France 3-1.

In the final they took on Artem Iakovlev and Alexander Esaulov again and on this occasion it was their opponents who proved the stronger, taking a 2-0 lead and securing a 3-1 win 11-9 in the fourth.

“It’s been a really long week out here with lots of matches and I think we were a little bit tired by the end,” admitted Perry. “I also think the more the Russians played together they seemed to really gel - they were a lot more coordinated and seemed to know each other’s game a lot better which played into their hands. We made a few too many errors in the final but the scores were really tight, so we were definitely in the match, and it was just one of those tough matches that didn’t go our way. I was obviously disappointed with my singles and somewhat disappointed not to win the doubles, but I’ve got to go again and prepare for Italy in a couple of days’ time.”

“We just didn’t get going in the final,” said Bayley. “I didn’t feel 100% but no excuses – they played better on the day and deserved to win today.”

Women’s class 5-10

Megan Shackleton teamed up with the class 5 Para PanAmerican champion Tamara Leonelli Leonelli from Chile and they began with a 3-1 win against neutral individual athletes Irina Voronina and Nadejda Pushpasheva. They beat Alena Kutyavina and Yekaterina Fedorenko from Kazakhstan 3-0 and progressed to the semi-finals as group winners after a walkover in their final match against Galiya Bespalaya and Zhanna Aliyeva from Kazakhstan.

A 3-0 win against Osrita Muslim and Leli Marlina from Indonesia took Shackleton and Leonelli Leonelli through to the final where they fought back well from 2-0 down against the strong class 5 pair of World number six Kang Oejeong and World number three Jung Young A to take the third 11-8 before losing a close fourth 11-9 as the Korean pair took the match 3-1 and the gold.

“I think Tamara and I did a great job in the final,” said Shackleton, “and were unlucky not to scrape the fourth set. We haven’t played together since 2019 so it wasn’t bad to have such a high-quality match against a tough pair and helpful just to keep building in the women’s doubles.”

Women’s class 14

Grace Williams and class 6 former World number one Raisa Chebanika, competing as a neutral individual athlete, lost their opening match to Camelia Ciripan and Gabriela Constantin from Romania 3-1 but progressed from their group with a 3-0 win against Aigul Nassikhatova and Aruzhan Giniyatova from Kazakhstan. In the semi-final against class 7 and class 6 Tokyo silver medallists Victoriya Safonova and Maliak Alieva, competing as neutral individual athletes, they led 2-0 and then took the deciding set 11-5 after Safonova and Alieva had levelled at 2-2.

That took them through to the final and a rematch against Camelia Ciripan and Gabriela Constantin. Williams and Chebanika levelled at 1-1 and the third set proved decisive as the Romanian pair edged it 12-10 and went on to win the fourth 11-6 and the match 3-1.

 “I’m pleased overall with the doubles,” said Williams, “and looking forward to incorporating what I’ve learned from these matches in future tournaments.”

Men’s class 8

Romain Simon and Chris Ryan lost their opening match to the experienced French pair of Nicolas Savant-Aira and Sylvain Noel 3-1 but kept themselves in contention with a 3-0 win against Sergey Shtaper and Murat Japabayev from Kazakhstan. They did not progress after losing a close match against the class 4 pair of Meiirbek Otepov from Kazakhstan and neutral individual athlete Aleksandr Sokolov 3-2, twice fighting back to level before Otepov and Sokolov took the deciding set 11-6.

Self-funding Simon Heaps and his partner Kenges Koniyev from Kazakhstan were beaten 3-0 by Luis Rodrigo Bustamante Flores and Maximiliano Nicolas Rodriguez Avila from Chile but progressed from their group with 3-0 wins against Sergey Ivankin and Yerlan Baigabulov from Kazakhstan and Rinat Gilfanov from Kazakhstan and Rasul Atamuratov from Uzbekistan. Heaps and Koniyev missed out on a medal after a 3-1 loss to individual neutral athletes Grigorii Isakov and Rasul Nazirov in the quarterfinal.

Men’s class 18

Ryan Henry and Theo Bishop edged a tight opening set against Komet Akbar and Banyu Tri Mulyo 16-14 before the Indonesian pair took the second 11-9 to level at 1-1 and went on to win 3-1. The young GB pair progressed from their group after a 3-0 win against Yerzhan Zhakanov and Askhat Tazhmiyev from Kazakhstan but went out in the quarterfinal after a 3-0 loss to the class 9 pair of Talgat Erekeyev from Kazakhstan and neutral individual athlete Iurii Nozdrunov, the former World number two and Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist.