National Para coach Sam Louge has created the following report on recent activities within National Para Table Tennis this year.
After competing in Montenegro, Slovenia and Poland in May Colin Judge took a break for 2 weeks.
Since coming back he has trained consistently. Colin performed quite well in Montenegro, while harbouring an injury. He lost in the quarter final to the world no.1 Feng Panfeng but had some good wins against German and French opposition enroute to the Quarter finals. Colin participated in Slovenia alone and it was a difficult tournament for him going out in the group stage. In Poland Colin performed very well implementing some stylistic changes enroute to winning his group and beating world no.8 in the semi-final. In a good performance in the final, where he held a match point, he unfortunately lost 2-3 to Ciric from Serbia. Colin will attend a training camp in Slovakia in August before heading to the European championships in Shefield in early September.
Sean Geoghegan played in the Montenegro Open and was reclassified from class 9 to class 8 which was a big win for him. In the tournament Sean was unsuccessful in his singles group losing in straight sets in his three matches. In the doubles with Britain’s Ryan Henry, Sean won one match and lost two. Paddy Vaughan and Conor O’Callaghan competed in the Polish Open. Paddy had a great tournament winning two matches in his group, one of which against the eventual runner up of the tournament. Paddy lost to the group winner and eventual tournament winner 0-3 which meant he lost out on countback and did not progress to the main draw. Conor had a difficult tournament losing both matches in his group 0-3. Paddy and Conor together reached the quarter final of the men’s doubles 14 event with a good win against Hong Kong opposition in their group. Paddy also reached the quarter final of the mixed doubles event with his Spanish partner. They lost a close 3-2 encounter to lose out on a medal.
The Development and Pathway Squads attended a training camp in Brighton TTC in August. This was a fantastic experience for all of the players. In attendance were Paddy Vaughan, Sean Geoghegan, Aaron Mellows, Jude Sheldon, Caoimhe Folan and Des Ryan. World no.1 class 7 player Will Bayley was present for all sessions and gave time and advice to everyone. The club made sure there were extra coaches and sparring partners there for all sessions. This trip provided the players with an opportunity to train two sessions per day for three days in a row in a focused environment which they normally don’t get. This is great learning for these players to see what needs to be done and how it needs to be done to get to the next level. Being in the company of a world and paralympic champion, Will was perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the camp. The players got to play with him, see him train and hear him speak. This is invaluable experience. Will’s enthusiasm and incredible work ethic along with his undeniable love for the game was infectious and the players responded well to being around him. The club’s manager, Tim, along with Will, left no stone unturned in looking after us and making sure we were happy. This is a relationship we will develop going forward.
Performance and Pathway Plans:
Colin, Paddy and Sean will attend a training camp in Slovakia with national teams from Spain, Slovakia and Serbia. This was organised with Montenegro open tournament director Alexandra Dragasova. This will be a preparation camp for the European championships for Colin and Paddy.
The goal for Colin is a medal. On the back of a great performance in Poland and great work in the training hall, this is an appropriate goal for him. The goal for Paddy is to win at least one match in his group. Paddy has the ability to trouble most players in his class but this is his first major championship in a long time.