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Welsh Paralympian Paul Davies wins bronze in table tennis

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Welsh Paralympian Paul Davies wins bronze in table tennis
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:51 pm Download PostRate Post

Great Britain’s Paul Davies was “over the moon” after capping more than two decades of hard work with table tennis bronze on his Paralympic debut.
The 45-year-old Welshman has been working towards appearing at the Games since becoming more actively involved in the sport in 1991, five years after he was paralysed in a motorbike accident.

That effort paid off today as Davies ensured himself a podium finish after winning a tense C1 bronze medal match 3-2 against South Korea’s Lee Chang-Ho in front of a raucous home crowd at the ExCel.

“I am over the moon to be a Paralympic bronze medallist,” he said.

“I’ve been playing for 21 years, since the day my son was born until today so it is a happy day.

“I don’t know what is going on with me lately. It keeps going to the fifth set.

“I have had a few big scraps and I treated this bronze medal match as my final match.

“It was all to gain, all to work hard for and I am very happy to come away with a bronze medal in front of a home crowd.

“All the psychology work I’ve done and all that experience came together great on the day.

“It was a big scrap out there and I am not saying it was easy because it wasn’t. Lee from Korea is a great player and big respect to him.”

Davies was one of three British Paralympic debutants in with a shout of a bronze medal today, but was the only one able to add to Will Bayley’s C7 silver from yesterday.

Sara Head missed out in her hunt for C3 bronze after a tough match against world number three Alena Kanova.

The Welsh Paralympian, who has had paraplegia since she was 15, won the first game but eventually lost 3-1 to her Slovakian opponent.

“It has been an unbelievable experience and what I have got from it is priceless,” said Head, who now turns her attention to her Paralympics doubles campaign with Jane Campbell.

“I was confident that I was going to go in there and fight. She changed her tactics and came back at me. I took my fight to her and she came fighting back.

“I knew it was going to be a tough one. She medalled in every major and I knew it was going to be a difficult one being my first semi-final in a major.”

The other Briton in with a shot at a medal today was Ross Wilson, but the 17-year-old lost 3-0 to Sweden’s Emil Andersson and the chance of C8 bronze.

“I am feeling pretty gutted obviously,” said Wilson, who has multiple epiphyseal dysplasia.

“He came out quite strongly and aggressive and I wasn’t really expecting it.

“It has been amazing and I have never experienced a crowd like it.”

It was a hectic morning at the ExCel as no fewer than 15 table tennis medals were decided.

Hungary’s Peter Palos took the first gold of the day in C11, before Anna-Carin Ahlquist of Sweden took the women’s C3 crown.

Russian Raisa Chebanika won the women’s C6 title after comprehensively defeating Ukraine’s Antonina Khodzynska.

Holger Nikelis of Germany and China’s Shuai Zhao won the final golds of the session in C1 and C8, respectively.

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