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Three medals but no golden ticket for British athletes in Thailand – British Para Table Tennis

Three medals but no golden ticket for British athletes in Thailand – British Para Table Tennis

 


Three bronze medals were won, but the ultimate prize of automatic qualification for Paris eluded the British athletes on the final day of the Paralympic World Qualifying Tournament in Thailand with Megan Shackleton (Women's Class 4), Chris Ryan (Men's Class 2) and Jack Hunter-Spveyy (Men's Class 5) all lost in the semi-finals of their respective events.

Since only gold medalists qualify for Paris, the winner takes in the entire nature of this tournament. This tournament offers a unique element that inspires elation or despair and highlights the ultra-fine margins that determine success in table tennis at the highest level.

Shackleton, Ryan and Hunter-Spivey, along with Tom Matthews, Ross Wilson, Theo Bishop and Grace Williams, now hope to receive a wild card to join the nine British athletes who have already qualified for this summer's Paralympic Games.

It was a very tough tournament, acknowledged BPTT Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. There were many good players in each class who had not qualified for Paris and this tournament was much stronger than the one before Tokyo. For some athletes it was more about gaining experience in a major competition, but for the performance athletes their goal was to win the tournament, which they did not do. They did their best, but unfortunately it wasn't enough this time, and we will now wait for the wildcard decisions to be announced at the end of June.

I would like to thank all the athletes and staff who worked very hard. It has been a mentally tough tournament for everyone, and the pressure here has been heavier than in any round at a major championship. There will always be players trying to fight for the last qualifying places and we have to learn from this, look at everything and come back stronger next time.

Ladies class 4

Megan Shackleton came through a five-set battle against Ena Miyazaki in the quarter-finals, winning the deciding set 11-5 after the 18-year-old from Japan leveled the match twice. That took her to a semi-final against world number seven Irem Oluk, who narrowly denied Shackleton a medal at the European Championships last year. The 24-year-old from Todmorden won their most recent two meetings at the Polish Open in March and after losing a tight first set 11-9, won the second 11-9 to move to 1-1. Oluk took the third 11-7 and although Shackleton continued to fight, the bronze medalist from Turkey took the fourth 11-8 and the match 3-1.

Men's class 2

Chris Ryan is attempting to qualify for his first Paralympic Games as a table tennis athlete after leading the GB wheelchair rugby team to gold in Tokyo. The 32-year-old has made rapid progress since his international debut last year and once again showed his enormous potential despite losing 3-1 in the semi-finals to world number 12 Thirayu Chueawong. He fought back from 7-2 down to win the first set 12-10, but the Asian Para Games bronze medalist from Thailand moved to 1-1 with his tactic of serving very short payoffs. Ryan again fought back from 10-6 in the third to level at 10-10, but Chueawong beat the score 12-10 and went on to win the fourth 11-8 and the match 3-1.

Men's class 5

Lucas Carvalhal Arabian defeated Jack Hunter-Spivey on his way to bronze at the 2022 World Championships and the 18-year-old Brazilian was in inspired form in today's semi-final. Hunter-Spivey started well, taking the first set 11-5, but only won two points in the second, drawing level at 1-1. The third set proved crucial, with the 29-year-old from Liverpool fighting back from 10-7 to level at 10-10, before Carvalhal Arabian took the score at 12-10 when Hunter-Spivey went long with a forehand and the Para PanAmerican The Games silver medalist took the fourth set 11-7 and won 3-1.

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