Individual and team silver for Pickard in Poland
A silver medal for Burnley’s Fliss Pickard (women’s class 6) helped round off some great performances by British players in the singles events at the ITTF Para Polish Open in Wladyslawowo.
Pickard had progressed to the knockout stages as the winner of her group after a 3-0 win against Darya Paluyan from Belarus, and a battling victory against Gabriela Constantin, fighting back from 2-0 down to beat the Romanian 3-2.
A 3-0 win against Emelie Endre from Sweden in the quarter-finals set up a semi-final against Katarzyna Marszal the World number five from Poland.
Pickard had won their last four meetings, including a 3-0 win in the World Championships last year.
But the Polish player is always a tough competitor and levelled at 1-1 and 2-2 before Pickard ran away with the deciding set 11-2.
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In the final she faced the top seed and World number two Raisa Chebanika.
And the Russian former Paralympic champion and reigning European champion was a 3-1 winner to take the gold.
“I’m pleased to get another medal,” said Pickard, “but the biggest improvement I made from Slovenia was my approach and application towards matches.
“I didn’t feel my level was great but it’s nice to win matches in these situations.
“I felt I had chances in the final – just little things to work on not only when I get back into the training hall but also in the team event here.”
And in the team event, Pickard took silver in the women’s class 6 with her Norwegian partner Merethe Tveiten.
Pickard and Tveiten began with a 2-0 win against Iraq, with Pickard defeating Najlam Al Dayyeni 3-1 after winning the doubles with Tveiten 3-0.
The British/Norwegian partnership survived a spirited fight back from the Swedish pair of Emelie Endre and Caisa Stadler before winning the doubles 3-2, and Pickard secured the tie with a 3-0 win against Endre.
Their final round-robin match against the World number two from Russia Raisa Chebanika and the Romanian Gabriela Constantin proved to be the one that decided the gold medal.
The Russian/Romanian partnership won the doubles 3-1, but Pickard levelled the tie with a gutsy win against Constantin 16-14 in the fifth, before Chebanika secured the gold for her team with a 3-0 win against Tveiten.
“I’m very pleased to come away with another silver medal,” said Pickard.
“My match today against Constantin is definitely the toughest battle I have ever had.
“This tournament has shown me that when my mind-set is right I can be one of the best players in the world.
“Now I have some time to go away, work hard and come back stronger.
“But the key is to focus on myself and control what I do.”