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Just in: Gold glory for Stonehouse table tennis star

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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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