It was a tough first day at the Montenegro Para Championship in Podgorica for the largely inexperienced British squad against strong competition including a powerful team from China competing internationally for the first time since the Tokyo Paralympic Games. There were wins for Megan Shackleton, Lee York, Theo Bishop and Shae Thakker and Shackleton and Thakker can still progress if they win their final group matches tomorrow.
Women’s class 4
After a slow start Megan Shackleton put up a good performance against the World number two Sandra Mikolaschek, taking the third set 11-7 to put herself back in the match from 2-0 down before the World silver medallist from Germany secured the fourth 11-9 and a 3-1 win. She beat Slobodanka Guresic from Montenegro 3-0 and plays her final group match against Paralympic bronze medallist Gu Xiaodan, the former World number four from China.
Men’s class 3
Romain Simon lost his opening match 3-0 to Irishman Colin Judge, the World number 14 and former class 2 European champion but was only edged out 14-12 in the third. He took the first set against Yorick Adjal before the Frenchman, who has taken medals in Egypt, Brazil and Greece this year edged the second 13-11 and went on to take the match 3-1. Simon did not progress after a 3-0 loss to Thomas Bruechle, the World number three and former European champion from Germany.
Men’s class 4
Lee York was beaten 3-0 by Alexandre Delarque, the former European team gold medallist from France but was then a 3-0 winner against the promising teenager Andre Radulovic from Serbia, taking the match 13-10 in the third set on his fourth match point. He had his chances in the second set against Guo Xingyuan but the former World champion and Tokyo team gold medallist from China edged it 12-10 and was a 3-0 winner.
Men’s class 7
Theo Bishop lost his first match to Katsuyoshi Yagi, the World number eight and Asian Championships silver medallist from Japan 3-0 and then fought back from 10-6 down to take the first set 12-10 against 20-year-old Roberto Martinelli from Italy on the way to a 3-0 win. Bishop played well against the former World number four Liao Keli, taking the third set 11-3 but the Tokyo team gold medallist from China secured the match 11-5 in the fourth.
Men’s class 8
Ryan Henry was beaten 3-0 by the World number seven from France Clement Berthier and will not progress after a 3-1 loss to Alejandro Diaz, the 20-year-old from Spain who took bronze in the Costa Brava Spanish Open earlier this year.
Men’s class 10
Shae Thakker lost 3-0 to the defending champion and World number seven Luka Bakic from Montenegro and was then a comfortable 3-0 winner against the veteran Valentin Marinov from Bulgaria. He plays his final group match against the Brazilian Claudio Massad, the World number 16 and former PanAmerican champion.