GB’s men and women were both successful in their bronze medal bids as the table tennis event at the Paralympic Games closed with a day of resounding success for the hosts.
Before the day had begun there was the possibility that Great Britain could leave the ExCeL with no team medals but the players were not to be denied their final shot at glory as both the Men’s Class 6-8 team and the Women’s Class 1-3 team secured the bronze medal that they will treasure forever.
The GB men were first to the bronze medal after a comprehensive annihilation of Germany – winning all three games 3-0 to cruise to victory.
17-year-old Ross Wilson was once again at the forefront of the brilliant British victory as his two wins ensured that he remained unbeaten throughout the entire team event. One wonders what the youngster might be able to accomplish with your years more training when Rio 2016 comes around and he would still be just 21-years-old.
Wilson opened the play-off match with a 3-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-5) victory over Thorsten Schwinn before Will Bayley avenged his singles final defeat to Jochen Wollmert with a victory against the same opponent to send GB 2-0 up.
When Wilson also beat Wollmert 3-0, the medals were already sealed ahead of any drama that might have unfolded as was witnessed on Thursday night. This time there was no mistake for Wilson and Bayley who, alongside team-mate Aaron McKibbin, can now aim for bigger things in Rio 2016.
Meanwhile, the GB girls produced yet another speciality comeback to win their bronze medal against Italy as they once more clinched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sara Head and Jane Campbell once more found themselves 2-0 down, as they had done in their two previous team matches, in their bronze medal play-off clash with Italy.
However, just like their quarter-final against Turkey, they fought their way back in with two comprehensive singles victories. First Head beat Michela Brunelli 3-1 (14-16, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7) before Campbell beat Pamela Pezzutto 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
Although at this stage the momentum was firmly with the GB girls, they still were taken to a fifth and deciding game for the bronze medal in the doubles match after the Italians fought back to lead 2-1.
Head and Campbell ensured they would make the decider after cruising the fourth game 11-3 before they found themselves 3-0 down in the fifth and final end. Without panicking, they took the next five points to lead 5-3 before taking another six consecutive points to assert their dominance with an 11-4 final game and a place in GB history.
This pair truly are the ‘Comeback Queens’.
Men’s Class 6-8:
Great Britain 3-0 Germany
Ross Wilson bt Thorsten Schwinn 3-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-5)
Will Bayley bt Jochen Wollmert 3-0 (11-9, 11-2, 11-8)
Ross Wilson bt Jochen Wollmert 3-0 (12-10, 11-4, 12-10)
Women’s Class 1-3:
Great Britain 3-2 Italy
Michela Brunelli bt Jane Campbell 3-1 (12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3)
Pamela Pezzuttto bt Sara Head 3-1 (11-7, 17-15, 9-11, 12-10)
Sara Head bt Michela Brunelli 3-1 (14-16, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7)
Jane Campbell bt Pamela Pezzutto 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7)
Head/Campbell bt Brunelli/Pezzutto 3-2 (11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4)