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Just in: Gold glory for Stonehouse table tennis star


World champions Billy Shilton and Paul Karabardak took gold in the men’s class 14 doubles on the final day of the Czech Para Open.

Stonehouse’s Shilton and Karabardak were 3-0 winners against Sam Gustafsson and Styrbjorn Ekengren from Sweden and then had to dig deep to secure a 3-2 win against Marcin Zielinski and Piotr Manturz from Poland, saving two match points before taking the deciding set 14-12.

As group winners and number one seeds they received a bye into the semi-finals and a 3-0 win against Andres Beroiza from Chile and Haris Eminovic from Bosnia-Herzegovina took them into the final against the class 7 pair of former European Para Youth Games champion Luka Trtnik from Slovenia and European bronze medallist Miroslav Jambor from Slovakia.

Shilton and Karabardak took the first two sets 11-8 11-8 and although two match points came and went at 10-8 they held their nerve, saved a set point at 11-10 down and secured a 3-0 win and the gold medal on their third match point, 13-11.

“I’m really happy to have won gold with Paul,” said Shilton. “We had a lot of tough matches, but we pulled through them and communicated really well during the pressure moments. Paul played amazingly in every match and it’s always a pleasure to play with him. I think this has given us a lot of confidence leading up to the Europeans and I’m looking forward to playing more with Paul and continuing to improve our doubles game.”

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