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Shilton hoping for further success at home European Championships

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World doubles champion Billy Shilton is included in an 18-strong British squad for the ITTF European Para Table Tennis Championships.

The Stonehouse table tennis star will compete at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from September 4-9, only the second time since the London 2012 Paralympic Games that the stars of the British Para Table Tennis Team have had the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd.

The tournament also represents an opportunity for athletes to secure Paralympic qualification with the gold medallist in each singles class earning a ‘golden ticket’ for Paris 2024 and valuable World ranking points available in both singles and doubles events.

Shilton won a Paralympic team bronze in Tokyo and took gold in the men’s class 14 doubles with Paul Karabardak at the World Championships in Spain last November, as well as bronze in the mixed class 14 doubles with Fliss Pickard. The 24-year-old from Stonehouse has also broken into the world’s top 10 in men’s class 8 and will compete in all three events in the European Championships.

“I don’t think it has been the best season for me individually,” he admitted. “I feel that I’ve been working hard in the hall and doing the right things but I don’t think it has shown yet but I feel that I’m in the best shape of my life so that’s exciting and I can’t wait to get going. Having the tournament in Sheffield can only be a positive with all the home fans and my parents, family and friends coming to watch. It will help me even more – if I’m playing well or struggling it will be nice to see them there supporting me.

“It’s always so enjoyable to play with Paul and I’ve had one of the best moments of my career playing with him so that gives me confidence. We’re playing really well in training. Obviously, we don’t see each other so much with Paul being in Wales and me being in Sheffield but when we do play practice matches in Sheffield and in tournaments we’ve been playing really well. I don’t think it creates additional pressure being World champions – it’s a completely different tournament and there will be different opposition and some new pairs we’ve not seen before so it’s exciting.

“Fliss and I both train in Sheffield so we can work on doubles every day and we’re definitely in a better place than we were at the Worlds so hopefully we can change the colour of the medal.”

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