14 October 2018
Matthews ready for World Para Table Tennis Championships challenge
Tom Matthews has never competed at a World Para Table Tennis Championships before, but the 26-year-old knows that if the competition is anywhere near as stiff as the rivalry between his Great Britain teammates - he can thrive in Slovenia.
Ranked fifth in the world, the Cwmbach table tennis prodigy has already competed at a European Championships since picking up a bat aged 16.
But the healthy competition between himself and teammates Rob and Paul Davies is what pushes the Welshman to achieving his dream of reaching the podium at this month’s World Championships.
“It motivates you having people like Rob in training as a Paralympic champion,” said Matthews.
“Beating him is nice in training, but you’ve got to do it on the big stage.
“We got to the finals of the Europeans and he has had that experience of being in finals and he showed his experience in the final.
“It’s a rivalry when we are on the table, you can’t respect him too much because you want to win the match.
“Off the table we are really friendly, we get on a lot and go out for meals. On the table he is my rival.”
Losing out to Rob Davies, the 2016 Paralympic Champion, at last year’s European Championships in Slovenia, Matthews gained crucial big match experience.
But after winning gold at the Lignano Master Open and reaching the quarter-finals of the Slovenian Open already in 2018, Matthews admits he wouldn’t be able to describe the emotion of medalling at a World Championships.
“A medal would mean the world. I can’t really explain what it would mean, I’d be overwhelmed to be honest. You have got to take it match by match and get out there and do what I do,” he added.
“It’s my first World Championships, so I am really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to get out there.
“It’s such an honour to put that shirt on and represent your country. Getting a medal is good, hearing that national anthem at the end of a tournament, there’s a lot of pride in it.”
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