9 May 2018
Gilroy leads medal rush for Britain in Slovenia
Sue Gilroy and Ashley Facey Thompson both secured silvers as Great Britain’s para table tennis team racked up five medals in the singles at the PTT Slovenia Open.
Gilroy and Facey Thompson claimed runners-up spots in the women’s class 4-5 and men’s class 9 respectively, while there were bronzes for Will Bayley (men’s class 7), Ross Wilson (men’s class 8) and Jack Hunter-Spivey (men’s class 5).
Gilroy’s route to the final included a devilish-looking tie against world number one Borislava Peric-Rankovic in the semi-final and the Brit looked in trouble as she found herself 2-0 down against the Paralympic champion.
However, she found an extra gear and stormed back to win 3-2, taking a thrilling deciding set 13-11.
Against young German Sandra Mikolaschek in the final, Gilroy again fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2, but lost the final set 11-6 despite being 4-1 ahead.
And despite missing out on the gold, Gilroy focused on her excellent run to get the shot at the title rather than wonder what might have been.
“When Mikolaschek called a time out she changed her game slightly,” said Gilroy, a two-time Commonwealth champion. “And then she was opening up a lot more, going very wide on my forehand and I just couldn’t get to them.
“She is a very intelligent player and a very good player - probably the best in the world at the moment.
“To be honest beating Peric was my final – it is a few years ago since I beat her so to come here when I’ve only been back in training a few weeks after surgery on my arm and beat her was a huge match for me especially from 2-0 down. So I’m really pleased with that.”
Ashley Facey Thompson claimed silver in the men's class 9
Facey Thompson battled his way to his second final within a few days after taking silver last week in Slovakia, but was defeated 3-0 by experienced Russian Iurii Nozdrunov after negotiating his way to the gold medal match.
And the Londoner admitted he was up against a terrific talent on the day but was pleased with his current form.
”To be fair he played really well,” said Facey Thompson. “I pushed him but he had the experience to take over and get the win.
“He knew what he needed to do and he executed it very well and I was struggling to compete with that. Two finals in two tournaments is great and I’m playing well.”
Bayley defeated 2015 European champion Jean-Paul Montanus en route to the semi-finals, but had to settle for bronze after he was beaten by promising Egyptian world number six Mohamed Ahmed Sayed 3-0.
Wilson claimed a memorable scalp as he battled to bronze, defeating former world number one Emil Andersson 3-0 in the quarter-finals.
He was up against current top seed Viktor Didukh of Ukraine, and levelled the match at 1-1 but his counterpart was too strong on the day and took a 3-1 triumph.
Hunter-Spivey came up against regular team partner Tommy Urhaug in his last-four clash, and the Norwegian, the London 2012 Paralympic champion, was in sparkling form as he overpowered the British athlete 3-1.
The tournament continues with the team events which conclude on Saturday.
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