I’ve just finished my first of two table tennis competitions in preparation for Rio 2016 Paralympics, I’m over the moon that I took the gold! The Slovenia Open is always one of the biggest competitions of the year, and this year in particular. Held on May 4th – 7th was the 13th Slovenian Table Tennis Open with athletes from all over the world competing from 43 different countries.
Going into the competition it was a bit of an unknown, everyone is looking to put a marker down ready for Rio. These two competitions will be a huge factor whether I go to Rio seeded or not. Currently ranked World number 1 in my category of wheelchair men class 1 everyone is vying for my blood and it’s important for me to try and hold my position to have a good seeding for the Paralympics.
Drawn in a group of 3 with Major of Hungary and Lazov of Croatia, both tricky opponents in different ways, but came through reasonably comfortably both 3-0 wins. The quarter finals were next, facing an old rival Silvio Keller of Switzerland. The old red headed enemy was playing well, with a change of rubbers to long pimples on the backhand he seemed to be on form proving to be a tough opponent. I came through it with a hard fought 3-1 win (12-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9).
The semi-final draw left me facing the Paralympic Champion from London 2012 Holger Nikelis (ranked world no.3) of Germany. I was determined to make my stamp in this match, he’s a great table tennis player, he was my idol when I was developing. It was a brilliant 3-0 win for me (8,9,8), I couldn’t have wished for any better.
The final was an all Davies one! I faced my squad and team partner Paul Davies from North Cornelly near Bridgend, Wales. For Paul having made the final was some feat, his first competition for 2 years having been out through injury. It’s always a strange feeling having to play your team partner in competition, the last time we played each other was in the final of the European Championships in 2013. I came through it with a 3-1 win (11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6), and to take the gold medal!
I’m really happy to come away with the gold medal, it’s a great start on my #RoadToRio my next competition starts Wednesday (11th of May) in Slovakia. The Slovakia competition will be my last competition before the Rio 2016 Paralympics which will be held between the 8th and 17th of September.
If you want to follow my progress follow me on twitter (robbie_tt), facebook page (Robert Davies Paralympic Table Tennis Athlete) or visit my website http://www.robertdaviestt.com