SPINT 2018 – 2018 World Para Table Tennis Championship is slowly coming to an end in Celje. While the Slovenian team ended their participation after the group stage on Thursday already, the world’s best players reached the final part and entered fights for medals, which will be decided today.
The 2018 World Para Table Tennis Championship in Celje and Laško will end today with the medal and closing ceremonies. 21 sets of medals will be presented, there is no match for the third place so both semi-finals losers will receive bronze medals while the winners will fight for gold.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Will Bayley from Great Britain was eliminated from competition yesterday by 3-2 in his class SM7 by the Spaniard Jordi Morales, who also beat Luka Trtnik in the group stage by 3-1 and played an exceptional game this time.
Bayley, coached by Gorazd Vecko from Slovenia, was not far behind, especially in the third and fourth sets, when he came back after already being behind 0-2: “I was obviously thinking about winning too much in the 5th set instead of doing what I should be to succeed,” Bayley did not hide his disappointment after being left with no medal at this tournament on Friday already. “I am very happy. I played great,” Morales was satisfied after defeating Bayley as he hasn’t yet forgotted his loss to the in the Rio team semi-final. Another British Paralympic champion, Rob Davies, was also knocked out yesterday: the lost his best-of-16 match to Guillermo Jose Bustamante Sierra from Argentina by 3-1.
The 46-year-old Swede Anna-Carin Ahlquist, however, has reached semi-finals and a medal after having already won six European titles and was also the best at the London Paralympics in 2012.
Poland will be looking to go home with two gold medals: they have big favourites in the women’s as well as men’s competitions, Natalia Partyka and Patryk Chojnowski. “We will see more bombastic table tennis in Cleje,” predicts Gorazd Vecko, head of the British team who could not help but be disappointed with his protégée Will Bayley.
While the competition will take place in Celje, the participants and guests will move to the Tri Lilije venue in Laško for the closing and medal ceremony of SPINT 2018 tonight, also to see a performance by the acrobatics group Dunking Devils.