Sheffield-based ParalympicsGB table tennis team guaranteed four medals in Tokyo
Great Britain’s Sheffield-based ParalympicsGB table tennis team is guaranteed four medals in Tokyo after a memorable day of action.
Four singles players reached the semi-finals in their respective events to guarantee themselves at least a bronze medal, including Hillsborough-based Jack Hunter-Spivey, who overcame London 2012 Paralympic champion and world number three Tommy Urhaug.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Will Bayley (Men’s class 7), Tom Matthews (Men’s class 1), Paul Karabardak (Men’s class 6) also progressed, while Aaron McKibbin, Billy Shilton and Ross Wilson won their last 16 matches in men’s class 8 and will contest their quarter-finals tomorrow morning (Saturday).
“I was down in every set but I just kept on fighting and kept on believing in myself,” said 26-year-old Hunter-Spivey, who won his match 3-2.
“I’m going all the way. I really think I can take this gold. It sounds so strange coming out of my mouth but I don’t think anyone realises how much hard work I’ve done in lockdown.
"Having a table in my living room - training on it, going underneath it to do my press-ups, eating my dinner off it. Table tennis has been my whole life for 16 years and my whole family’s life as well and this medal isn’t just for me, it is for everyone back home and everyone who has supported me.”
Hunter-Spivey, who is originally from Liverpool, practices at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield (EIS), where the ParalympicsGB table tennis team is based.
The semi-finals take place on Saturday and will see him take on world number four Valentin Baus from Germany.
Elsewhere, Great Britain’s Men’s wheelchair basketball team, who also train at the EIS, were beaten 71-59 by Germany on Friday.
The women’s team were also beaten 53-35 by the Germans.
Their fourth and final preliminary round game will take place tomorrow against Australia, while the Men’s team will take on the USA in their third match.
Great Britain was second in the medal table on Friday behind China, with nine golds, 10 silvers and a further nine bronze medals won so far.
The Games conclude on Sunday, 5 September.