European Para Table Tennis Championships: Davies secures third successive Euro title

Rob Davies
Rob Davies secured a 3-0 victory over Tom Matthews in the final

Paralympic table tennis champion Rob Davies secured a third successive European crown with victory over fellow Welshman Tom Matthews in Slovenia.

Davies, 33, defeated another Welshman - 50-year-old Paul Davies, who finished with bronze in the class one event, in the semi-finals.

"It's great sharing the podium with my team-mates," Rob Davies told BBC Sport.

Dave Wetherill took class six silver, while there were bronzes for Will Bayley, Sue Gilroy and Ross Wilson.

Seven medals is a record European haul for the British team in the modern era of the sport, while it is also first time the nation has secured gold, silver and bronze in the same category.

Seven medals
The successful British team show off their medals. Back row (left to right): Dave Wetherill, Will Bayley, Ross Wilson. Front row: Sue Gilroy, Tom Matthews, Rob Davies, Paul Davies

Champion Davies said before the event that getting married and looking to buy a house had impacted his preparations, while he also struggled with illness in Slovenia.

However, after surviving a five-set battle with veteran namesake Paul Davies - a London 2012 bronze medallist - he delivered a confident display to defeat Matthews 3-0 in the final.

"I didn't even expect to reach the final so I'm delighted with how it's all gone and next year I'll be back looking for my first world title," he said.

Matthews said: "I'm really proud of the result and of the guys because to secure a GB one-two-three is just amazing."

Paul Davies dedicated his bronze medal to his wife, Debbie, who passed away shortly after the Rio Paralympics last year.

"She was with me there today and would have wanted me to push on and do my best," he said with tears in his eyes.

Paul Davies
Bronze medallist Paul Davies competed in memory of his wife Debbie

Wetherill impressed throughout his three matches on the final day of individual events in Lasko.

However, an exhausting semi-final left him unable to offer a serious threat against defending world champion Alvaro Valera, who won 3-1.

"I felt utterly drained and had nothing left, but to come here and win a medal is still a good result all things considered," he said.

Bayley, who is due to become a father for the first time next week, had hoped to complete the sport's triple crown by adding European gold to his world and Paralympic titles, but his bid ended in the class six semi-finals.

The 29-year-old fought back from 2-0 down against Ukrainian Mykhaylo Popov, who beat him in the 2013 Euro final, but lost in the decider.

"To be honest, I'm still proud to come here and have won a medal for my country," Bayley told BBC Sport.

"I'm probably more nervous about next week [the arrival of his first child] that I was about the tournament, but it's nice to have a distraction away from the sport."

Gilroy admitted she was "bitterly disappointed" with how she performed against Paralympic champion Borislava Peric-Rabkovic in the semi-finals.

However, she and Wilson - who claimed his first ever individual medal at a major championships - will return for their respective team events on Sunday.

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