Table Tennis is a sport which is dominated by nations in Asia, particularly China and Korea.
Great Britain’s Table Tennis athletes went into London after several years under the guidance of Performance Manager Gorazd Vecko, who was recruited by the British Table Tennis Association for Disabled People following a disappointing performance by the sport in Beijing where the sport failed to medal, having consistently won at least two medals in the previous four Games.
Vecko brought with him a new regime, even encouraging his players to move to the new Performance Centre in Sheffield by sharing his house with them.
The plan paid dividends in London, with the team bringing home four medals - one silver and three bronze.
All eyes were on Will Bayley, who was announced in January 2012 as world No.1 in his class, a feat that only one other British disabled Table Tennis player has achieved in recent times.
Despite the pressure, Bayley held his nerve to secure the silver for Great Britain in men's class 7 Singles, narrowly losing out to Germany’s Jochen Wollmert. He was followed onto the podium by Paul Davies, who won his class 1 Singles bronze medal play off against world number 4, Lee Chang Ho of Korea.
In the Team events there were two further bronzes: Will Bayley, Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin in men's class 6-8 and Sara Head and Jane Campbell in women's class 1-3.
- First year at a Paralympic Games:
- Rome 1960
- Brief history:
- Originally only open to wheelchair users, standing players were added to the Paralympic Games programme in Toronto in 1976, and a competition for athletes with cerebral palsy featured on the programme for Arnhem in 1980
- Eligible impairment groups:
- Physical impairments and athletes with a learning disability
- London medal table:
- 1 - China (14 gold, five silver, two bronze)
2 - Poland (three gold, one silver, one bronze)
3 - Germany (two gold, one silver, one bronze)
18 = Great Britain (zero gold, one silver, three bronze)
- GB medals in London:
- Will Bayley, silver, class 7 singles
Paul Davies, bronze, class 1 singles
Will Bayley, Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibben, class 6-8 team
Sara Head and Jane Campbell, bronze, class 1-3 team
- Did you know:
- Table Tennis is the fourth largest Paralympic sport. It is played in over 50 countries, with countries including China and Korea dominating the medals.
- London 2012 venue:
The object of the sport is to hit the ball into your opponent's half of the table and prevent him or her from returning it successfully.
A match consists of five sets, with each set won by the first player to reach 11 points. A two-point winning margin is required to win each set. The server changes every two points.
The sport takes two forms at the Paralympics – standing and wheelchair events and athletes with physical impairments and learning disability take part.
Competitions take the form of preliminary rounds followed by knockout stages.
Athletes are assessed and allocated a number between 1 and 10, depending on their functional ability. Classes 1-5 are for athletes who are wheelchair users, while those from 6-10 are for athletes who are ambulant.
In the wheelchair category, those competing in class 1 are the highest level of impairment, as are those in class 6 of the ambulant athletes.
Athletes with a learning disability complete in class 11.