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Minster table tennis player Ross Wilson beaten at Paralympic World Qualification Tournament to leave chances of participation in Paris hanging on wildcard

A place at this summer’s Paralympics is out of Ross Wilson’s hands.

The Minster table tennis player was beaten in the Quarter-Finals of the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament in Thailand and will only make it four Games appearances in a row if he receives a wildcard.

Ross Wilson’s hopes of a fourth successive Paralympics appearance are in the balance. Picture: Michael Loveder
Ross Wilson’s hopes of a fourth successive Paralympics appearance are in the balance. Picture: Michael Loveder

Wilson has won team medals for GB at London, Rio and Tokyo, but new criteria mean even a top-five ranking is no guarantee of qualification for Paris. Additionally, there are no team events this time, with men’s, women’s and mixed doubles events replacing them.

Competing in men’s class 9, Wilson, reclassified from class 8 last year, recovered from a slow start in his opening group match to come back from 6-1 down and take the first set 11-9 against Jan Reinig from Germany.

He was 10-7 down in the second and reeled off five consecutive points to take it 12-10 before completing a 3-0 win, 11-7 in the third.

A much better start in his next match against Dinesh Pitiyage Don Silva gave him an 8-2 lead in the first set, but the Al-Watani Para Open gold medallist from Sri Lanka levelled at 8-8 before taking the set 11-9. Wilson came back to claim the second 11-9, but couldn’t find any consistency and Pitiyage Don Silva took the match 3-1.

Wilson progressed from the group as runner-up and a 3-0 win against Dezso Bereczki, the former European medallist from Hungary in the last 16, took him through to a Quarter-Final against Liu Chaodong.

The pair met in the Polish Open in March when Liu won in four sets and although Wilson played superbly to take the second set 11-3 after losing a tight first set 12-10, the Asian Para Games bronze medallist from China took the third 11-7 and secured a 3-1 win, 11-9 in the fourth.

“It has been a very tough tournament,” acknowledged British Para Table Tennis performance director Gorazd Vecko.

“There were a lot of good players in every class who had not qualified for Paris and this tournament was much stronger than the one before Tokyo. For some athletes it was more about gaining experience of a major competition but for the Performance athletes their goal was to win the tournament, which they didn’t do.

“They tried their best but unfortunately this time it was not enough, and we will wait now for the decisions on wild cards which will be announced at the end of June.

“I need to say thank you to all the athletes and staff who worked really hard. It has been a mentally tough tournament for everyone, and the pressure here has been harder than any round at a major championship.

“There will always be some players trying to fight for the last qualification places and we need to learn from this, review everything and come back stronger next time.”

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