Para Table Tennis: Sheffield’s Will Bayley strikes gold in Italy

Will Bayley on his way to a gold medal in Italy
Will Bayley on his way to a gold medal in Italy

Paralympic table tennis champions Will Bayley, from Sheffield, and Rob Davies made a great start to qualification year for Tokyo 2020 by taking gold in their respective singles events at the Lignano Master Open in Italy.

On a good day for the team Josh Stacey (Sheffield) took silver in and there were bronze medals for Megan Shackleton (Sheffield), Fliss Pickard (Sheffield), Jack Hunter-Spivey (Sheffield), David Wetherill, Martin Perry (Sheffield) and Kim Daybell (Sheffield).

Men’s class 8 World champion Ross Wilson (Sheffield) withdrew from the tournament with a hamstring injury.

For Bayley in the final, there was a repeat of the Rio 2016 Paralympic final against another Brazilian Israel Pereira Stroh.

Bayley ran away with the deciding set 11-3 to win his first tournament since the German Open in 2017.

He said: “I’ve been training so hard and I set myself a target to win gold this year so I’m so happy to win the Italian Open.”

After the two individual gold medals, the British Para table tennis team finished the Lignano Master Open in style with gold in the team events for Kim Daybell (Sheffield), Ashley Facey Thompson (Sheffield) and Josh Stacey(Sheffield) in men’s class 10, Paul Karabardak, Martin Perry (Sheffield) and David Wetherill in men’s class 6 and Jack Hunter-Spivey (Sheffield)with his German partner Jeorg Didion in men’s class 5.

Men’s class 7 Paralympic champion Will Bayley (Sheffield) and Billy Shilton (Sheffield) took silver in men’s class 8.