7 October 2018
Relaxed Bayley gears up for World title defence
Paralympic champion Will Bayley isn’t placing any extra pressure on his shoulders as he prepares to defend his world title in Slovenia.
The 30-year-old will be the man to beat in the men’s class 7 as he enters this month’s World Championships in Slovenia on October 17-20 having ruled the roost in Beijing four years ago.
Bayley will be joined by fellow Rio 2016 gold medallist Rob Davies in the British team heading to the Slovenian towns of Celje and Lasko, and insists that he simply wants to give as good a showing of himself as he can.
“To be honest, it doesn’t feel much different to me going in to the World Championships as defending champion,” said the 30-year-old world number two.
“I still feel that I’ve got a lot to prove as a player and a lot more to achieve. I’m just going there as one of 20 players in my class and I’ll take every match as it comes.
“I’ve been playing really well in the British League and [have] beaten some good able-bodied players, and if I can take that form into the World Championships, then that will be really good for me.
“I really want to have a major tournament where I play my top level. I didn’t play my best in Rio but I somehow managed to pull through in close matches.
“Now I’d like to have a tournament where I play my best level but if I play well or badly, I still want to be in the moment and enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, Davies, will be aiming to go one better than the silver medal he won in the men’s class 1 in 2014.
“I’m excited to go into another World Championships,” said 34-year-old Davies.
“I might not have had the ideal preparation but I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I’m improving day-by-day.
“Although the Czech Open last month didn’t go according to plan, I can still take a lot out of it because that is why I went there – to see what I needed to strengthen.
“I know what I need to work on and hopefully, I’ll be stronger going into the Worlds.”
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games medallists Ross Wilson and Kim Daybell are also included in the travelling British party, as well as London and Rio Paralympic team bronze medallist Aaron McKibbin, World silver medallist Sue Gilroy and European silver medallists Tom Matthews and David Wetherill.
European team champion Paul Karabardak and European team silver medallist Ashley Facey Thompson are also included.
British team for the 2018 World Para Table Tennis Championships:
Will Bayley MBE (men’s class 7)
Paul Davies (men’s class 1)
Rob Davies MBE (men’s class 1)
Kim Daybell (men’s class 10)
Ashley Facey Thompson (men’s class 9)
Sue Gilroy MBE (women’s class 4)
Jack Hunter-Spivey (men’s class 5)
Paul Karabardak (men’s class 6)
Tom Matthews (men’s class 1)
Aaron McKibbin (men’s class 8)
Fliss Pickard (women’s class 6)
Megan Shackleton (women’s class 4)
David Wetherill (men’s class 6)
Ross Wilson (men’s class 8)
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