Matthews took bronze on his World Para Table Tennis Championships debut

Tom Bags Bronze Medal On Para Worlds Bow…And Now Wants Gold

Tom Matthews vowed to return and strike gold after bagging a brilliant bronze on his World Para Table Tennis Championships debut in Slovenia.

The Aberdare player put up a huge battle in his semi-final against World number one Young Dae Joo and took the first set against the Korean who was the silver medallist when Brecon’s Rob Davies struck gold at the Paras in Rio two years ago..

But his rival’s greater experience proved decisive as he came back to win the match 3-1 in the men’s class one category but that was enough to earn Matthews the bronze.

The 26-year-old, who has come from two set down to beat Italy’s Federico Falco to reach the semis, said: “It definitely doesn’t get much tougher than that.

“He is a really good player and he is world number one for a reason. It was a difficult match – I felt that I played well but he was just a bit more consistent on the day.

“It’s been a massive learning experience I’m so happy to come away with a bronze medal although I’m obviously disappointed I couldn’t get another colour. This is my first World Championships and I’ve got a medal so I’m over the moon but a bit disappointed at the moment.”

“I haven’t played much on a show court before so it was really good to go out there today in front of the lights and the crowd.

“I’ll just take the experience from it now and look back on it with my coach and see what we can do differently and hopefully come out with the win next time.

“I took a set off the world number one at the World Championships and it gives me massive confidence and the experience I need now.

“I want to go all the way in every tournament – that is what I am fighting for. I want that gold medal around my neck and I’m just going to go back and work harder than ever and hopefully next time I can come back with that gold medal.”

Davies had bowed out earlier in the competition as he missed out on adding the world title to his Para crown after a 3-1 defeat to Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamante Sierra, having taken the first set 11-6.

The 32-year-old said: “It’s very disappointing. Obviously going out at this stage is not what I wanted to be doing but I can only use it to fire me up ready for next year and that is what I intend doing.

“These guys are training hard all the time and I couldn’t go out to a nicer guy than Guillermo. He is an ex-rugby player like myself and he has really improved and that is what I need to do for next year.

“It hasn’t been the season I wanted so I’ve got to change that for next year and I will be back stronger.”



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