Megan Shackleton

Date and place of birth: 21/03/1999, Halifax
Home town: Todmorden
Lives: Sheffield
Family: Mum Jayne, step-dad Anthony, sister Lois
TT Class: 4
Current world ranking: 9
International debut: 2013, Belgium Open

In brief:

Megan started playing table tennis at the age of 12 at a Playground to Podium event in Leeds and joined the GB Pathway Squad in 2013, moving into the Performance Squad in April 2014. Since making her international debut at the age of 14 Megan has continued to improve and with experienced team partner Sue Bailey (Gilroy) has won major medals at World and European level. In 2019 she broke into the top ten in her class for the first time and now combines her table tennis with studying for a degree in English Literature at the University of Sheffield. She made her Paralympic debut in Tokyo and took bronze in the women’s class 4-5 team event with Sue Bailey.

Megan’s story:

Megan Shackleton’s sporting ambitions were originally focused on competing in the Olympics as a swimmer until she fractured her spine in a machinery–related accident which left her in a wheelchair at the age of nine.

Although she returned to the pool after her accident, winning medals in National Championships, she started playing table tennis at the age of 12 at a Playground to Podium event in Leeds and the sport provided her with the new challenge that she was looking for.

“I had swum competitively from the age of five and played tennis,” she says, “so I’ve always enjoyed sport. I met a table tennis coach Shaun Alvey at the Playground to Podium event and he persuaded me to come along to his club Albert Premier TTC regularly and I soon fell in love with the sport.”

Megan joined the GB Pathway Squad in 2013 and made an impressive international debut in October 2013 in the Belgium Open, reaching the quarter-finals of the class 4 singles event. In March 2014 she won her first international medal, partnering Sue Gilroy and Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlquist to a silver medal in the women’s class 4-5 team event at the Lignano Master Open in Italy and she went on to win her first individual medal in Romania with a bronze in the women’s class 4-5 singles. She was selected for the Performance Squad in April 2014 and finished the season on a high by taking gold in the women’s class 4-5 singles and team events at the Cote d’Azur International to confirm her potential.

In 2015 Megan started the season by taking gold in the Hungarian Open. She continued to progress while also studying for her GCSEs and took two silver medals in the Czech Open before making her major championship debut in the European Championships in Denmark where she took a bronze medal in the women's class 4-5 team event with Sue Gilroy.

In 2016 Megan took medals in Italy and Romania and although not part of the ParalympicsGB squad that went to Rio she gained a lot of experience from watching the other players preparing for a Paralympic Games.

The following year Megan and Sue Gilroy took bronze in the World Team Championships in Slovakia and although they failed to reproduce that form in the European Championships later in the year Megan reached the quarter-finals of the women’s class 4-5 singles, losing to the World number one and Paralympic champion Borislava Peric-Rankovic from Serbia.

In 2018 Megan completed her A level studies at Todmorden High School and started training full time. After winning gold at the Czech Open she continued her improved form at her first World Championships, coming through her group and demonstrating her huge potential with a 3-0 win in her last 16 match against the World number eight from Thailand, Wijittra Jaion. She put up another good performance in the quarter-final against the 29 year old World number one from China, Zhou Ying, despite a 3-0 loss to the two-time Paralympic and World champion.

After a slow start to 2019 Megan went from strength to strength, reaching the final of the women’s class 4 singles in Japan and taking medals in Czech Republic and China. At the European Championships in Sweden she lost in the quarter-finals of the singles to World number four Sandra Mikolaschek but avenged that defeat in the team event on the way to winning bronze with Sue Gilroy and completed a successful season by breaking into the top 10 in the world for the first time.

Having achieved automatic qualification for Tokyo Megan made her Paralympic debut in 2021 and in the women’s class 4 singles was unlucky to be drawn in a group with the two-time Paralympic and World champion Zhou Ying from China and the World number 12 from India Bhavina Hasmukhbhai Patel who both went on to contest the final. However, in the women’s class 4-5 team event she played a superb match to beat the class 5 World number two Khetam Abuawad 3-1 as she and Sue Bailey beat Jordan 2-1 to secure a bronze medal.

“Coming back from what I felt was a slightly disappointing singles where I’d like to have progressed a bit further,” said Megan, “I just brought all those feelings into the team event. I felt that I managed to play a better level and I’m really pushing some of the top guys now so to take a medal at my first Games is an incredible feeling. I’ve imagined myself on the podium and representing GB at the Paralympics since I was very young so to finally make that dream a reality is a surreal feeling.”

Take 5 with Megan:

Most admired sportsman/woman - Tom Daley

Place in the world you would most like to visit - Australia

Three famous people (alive or dead) you would like to have a drink with - Barack Obama, Jennifer Lawrence and Bear Grylls

What’s on your ipod - general chart stuff

If you had to appear in a reality TV programme which one would it be - Big Brother

and finally - Megan’s favourite sport apart from table tennis is tennis.

2021 Results:

Paralympic Games, Tokyo – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

2020 Results:

Costa Brava Spanish Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4-5); bronze, women’s teams (class 2-5)

Polish Open – group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5); bronze, women’s teams (class 2-5)

2019 Results:

China Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4); 4th, women’s teams (class 4-5 RR)

European Championships, Sweden – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); QF, women’s singles (class 4-5)

Czech Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4); bronze, women’s teams (class 4)

Japan Open – silver, women’s singles (class 4); 4th women’s teams (class 2-5 RR)

Polish Open – group stages, women’s singles (class 4); 3rd, women’s teams (class 4-5 RR)

Slovenia Open – L16, women’s singles (class 4); bronze, women’s teams (class 4)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – bronze, women’s singles (class 4); group stages, women’s teams (class 4-5)

2018 Results:

World Championships, Slovenia – QF, women’s singles (class 4)

Czech Open – gold, women’s singles (class 4); QF women’s teams (class 2-5)

Slovenian Open – L16 women’s singles (class 4-5); QF women’s singles (class 4-5)

Slovakia Open – silver, women’s teams (class 4-5); QF women’s singles (class 4-5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5)

2017 Results:

Spanish Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4)

Belgian Open – silver, women’s teams (class 1-5); bronze, women’s singles (class 4-5)

European Championships, Lasko, Slovenia – QF, women’s singles (class 4-5); 5th women’s teams (class 4-5RR)

Bayreuth Open, Germany – silver, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

World Team Championships, Slovakia – bronze, women’s class 4-5

Slovenia Open – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); QF, women’s singles (class 4-5)

2016 Results:

Romania Open - bronze, women’s singles (class 4-5); bronze, women’s teams (class 3-5)

Slovenia Open - bronze, women’s teams (class 4); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5)

2015 Results:

European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5)

Czech Open - silver, women’s singles (class 4-5); silver, women’s teams (class 4-5)

Bayreuth Open, Germany - bronze, women’s teams (class 4); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

Slovenia Open - silver, women’s teams (class 4); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5); 4th women’s teams (class 4-5)

Hungarian Open - gold, women’s singles (class 4-5); silver, women’s teams (class 1-5)

2014 Results:

Cote d’Azur International, France - gold, women’s singles (class 4-5); gold, women’s teams (class 4-5)

Romania International Open - bronze, women’s singles (class 2-5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - silver, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4-5)

National Championships - Winner, Junior Class 1-5 singles; Junior Player of the Tournament

Career Highlights:

2021:    Paralympic Games, Tokyo – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); group stages, women’s singles (class 4)

2019:    China Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4)

European Championships, Sweden – bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5); QF, women’s singles (class 4-5)

Czech Open – bronze, women’s singles (class 4)

Japan Open – silver, women’s singles (class 4)

2018:    World Championships, Slovenia – QF, women’s singles (class 4)

Czech Open – gold, women’s singles (class 4)

2017:    World Team Championships, Slovakia – bronze, women’s class 4-5

2015:    European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - bronze, women’s teams (class 4-5)

Czech Open - silver, women’s singles (class 4-5); silver, women’s teams (class 4-5)

Slovenia Open - silver, women’s teams (class 4)

Hungarian Open - gold, women’s singles (class 4-5); silver, women’s teams (class 1-5)

2014:    Cote d’Azur International, France - gold, women’s singles (class 4-5); gold, women’s teams (class 4-5)

Romania International Open - bronze, women’s singles (class 2-5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - silver, women’s teams (class 4-5)

National Championships - Winner, Junior Class 1-5 singles; Junior Player of the Tournament