Published: 09:00, 03 September 2021
| Updated: 09:26, 03 September 2021
It might be another silver but Will Bayley insists his sixth Paralympic medal is one of the best moments of his career.
The 33-year-old became the most successful British Paralympic table tennis player in the modern era, despite defeat in the table tennis 6-7 class doubles final alongside Paul Karabardak.
Bayley and Karabardak went down 2-0 in the best-of-three contest, with a defeat in the opening doubles content followed by Bayley's four-set loss in the first singles match.
But Tunbridge Wells' Bayley, who now has one gold, three silver and two bronze medals, quickly put it behind him and was just happy to be on the podium with his best friend.
Karabardak suffered a stroke at just 10 years old and won the decisive singles match to book their place in the final.
"We had our chances but we didn't take them and you have to take those chances especially against China," said Bayley.
"To win this medal with my best friend Paul it makes it all the more special so I’m so happy.
“What he has overcome in his life is extraordinary and I think his win against Valera (in the semi-final) is probably the best moment of my whole career.
“I’ve won singles gold and that moment was the best moment of my career so thank you to Paul for doing that for me because it is a moment I will never forget."
Bayley and Karabardak were convincingly beaten in straight sets in the doubles contest by opponents Shuo Yan and Keli Liao.
The Chinese pair won 11-7 12-10 11-2 to take an early advantage and pile the pressure on Bayley ahead of his singles match with Yan.
Bayley knew he had to win to keep their chances of gold alive and he started promisingly by taking the first set 11-7.
However, Yan hit back in an arm wrestle of a second set and edged it 15-13 in a passage of play that swung the momentum back his way.
Yan then went through the gears and won the third set 11-6 and the fourth 11-4 to sew up the gold medal in exactly half-an-hour.
“That second game was massive,” acknowledged Bayley.
“At 10-8 with two set points to go 2-0 up - you’ve got to take those chances. He played well and came back and deserved to win again.
"He won three sets in a row and that’s tough, so I’ve got to hold my hands up. He played really well but I didn’t take my opportunities and that is what sport is all about.
"We had another chance in the doubles at 10-8 in the second but this is what it is all about and that is why they are the champions."
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