Double medallist Bayley can’t wait for Rio challenge

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WILL Bayley labelled the British table tennis team at London 2012 as the best ever after he won one of the nations’ two bronzes on Friday to double both his and their medal tally.

The 24-year-old turned his attentions onto the class 6-8 team competition immediately after settling for silver to Jochen Wollmert of Germany in his singles campaign on Sunday.

And it was ironic that Wollmert and the German team stood in Bayley’s way again on Friday as he, Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin battled for bronze at the ExCeL.

However Bayley wasn’t to be beaten this time and he and Wilson romped to a 3-0 win, not dropping a single game and even not needing to call upon McKibbin.

An hour after their success and teammates Sara Head and Jane Campbell won an epic encounter with Italy 3-2 to take bronze in the class 1-3 team event – leaving Bayley to revel in Britain’s success.

“We are the most successful British team ever, so it is not bad, it is quite a good team,” said Bayley – who also saw Paul Davies win singles bronze in the class 1 event.

Bayley, who trains at the EIS, said: “And we are going to be even better in Rio, we have got a gold medal in Ross, I will hopefully get my silver medal again and Aaron can get a bronze.”

At one point yesterday it looked as if Sara Head would leave London 2012 with two fourth-place finishes – but yet another stirring comeback ensured she joined British table tennis’ medal party.

The 32-year-old fought out three five-set thrillers on the way to reaching the bronze medal match of the Paralympic class 3 singles on Monday morning, where she lost 3-1 to Alena Kanova of Slovakia.

And it appeared that Head and fellow Brit Jane Campbell wouldn’t get past the first round of the class 1-3 team competition on Thursday as they lost the first two matches against Turkey.

However as was to become almost the norm in the ExCeL, Head and Campbell powered back to take the game 3-2 before losing their semi-final clash with Korea in straight sets 3-0.

That set up a bronze medal match with Italy and they were once again quickly two matches down although they came back to win 3-2 – Head insisting they simply couldn’t be left in the shadows.

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