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Bayley claims European gold
Bayley claims European gold

Kent’s Will Bayley won the European Para Table Tennis Championships title in Sheffield to book his place at next year’s Paralympics in Paris.

The 35-year-old beat defending champion Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands 3-1 in the class seven singles final.

“That was probably up there with one of the toughest matches of my life,” said world champions Bayley.

Bayley defeated reigning champion Jean-paul Montanus 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9 in the final on Thursday night, extending a win streak in singles play that dates back to his defeat in the Paralympic final in Tokyo two years ago.

Bayley celebrated by kicking over the court-side hoardings to embrace his supporters before revealing: “I’m feeling emotional because it means a lot to me. Winning the European title again after all these years shows I’ve still got the hunger and desire.”

“I’m at the peak of my powers and I’m the best player in the world, and I can’t wait to prove it (in Paris).”

“I’m getting older and more mature. I had a year out after my injury and I worked really hard.

“Things happen for a reason and I believe I have come out of it a much better player.”

The British team have won eight singles medals at the event, with one gold, three silvers and four bronze medals.