Ross Wilson beamed with pride after claiming bronze in the para table tennis men’s singles classes 8-10, despite admitting he had not been at his best during the Commonwealth Games.
Minster's Wilson beat Nigeria’s Tajudeen Agunbiade 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at the NEC in Birmingham, with the Nigerian taking the fourth game 17-15 only for Wilson to fight back and clinch victory in the fifth.
It marked Wilson’s second Commonwealth medal, to add to his gold in 2018, and the 27-year-old was pleased with the way he battled through a tough week to medal on home soil.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Wilson, who also has three Paralympic bronze medals.
“Home crowd, my family, friends, my girlfriend, my little nephew that’s just been born, they’ve all come to watch, and it makes me so proud to be able to go out there and perform in front of them.
“It’s not been my best performances this Games, but I’ve kept in there until the end and I’m proud of myself for that.”
Wilson was looking to defend the gold he won four years ago on Australia’s Gold Coast but was beaten by Wales’ Joshua Stacey in the semi-finals.
It meant Wilson would have to settle for bronze at best, and he revealed the possibility of leaving Birmingham with nothing has played on his mind.
“The feeling of coming away with nothing, you try not to be too outcome-focused, but you are a lot of the time, and you think about it a lot,” admitted Wilson.
“I was just trying to focus on my processes today and trying to dig in there until the end.
“That’s all it came down to, doing the thing of winning. Keeping my head and fighting for every point.”
Wilson, who now lives in Sheffield, made a strong start to take the first game 11-9 only to be pegged back by Agunbiade in the second in an early indication that it was to be a topsy-turvy and hard-fought battle for bronze.
And it seemed that the Nigerian had taken control when he took a marathon fourth game 17-15 only for Wilson to somehow swing the momentum and take the fifth, and with it the bronze.
“At 1-1, I wasn’t over-panicking or anything,” said Wilson.
“It’s happened to me quite a lot this week where I’ve had a good run of points, I’ve been playing well, and it’s dipped from nowhere. I wasn’t too worried, I knew I could bounce back.
“After the fourth set when it was 17-15, and then it went 4-1 to him in the fifth I was thinking ‘here we go again, it’s getting away from me’ but I just stuck in there and fortunately it all came together in the end.
“I’m really proud of myself for believing in myself until the end.”
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