Joshua Stacey combined with 18-year-old Theo Bishop to take bronze in the men’s doubles class MS18 on the final day of the Egypt Para Open in Ismailia.
In their opening group match class 9 singles silver medallist Stacey (pictured) and class 7 Bishop fought back from 2-1 down to beat class 8 Hasan Hamzah Al Majidi from Iraq and class 10 Jagannath Mukherjee from India 3-2 and were then beaten 3-0 by the class 8 former world No 1 from Belgium Marc Ledoux and the class 9 French Open champion Lucas Didier from France.
They needed to win their final group match against class 10 Om Rajesh Lotlikar and class 8 Kunal Arora from India to progress and a 3-1 win sent them through to the quarterfinals where they beat the class 9 Egyptian pair of African Championships medallist Hossam Elsayed and Mohamed Ibrahim 3-0.
In the semi-finals they faced class 9 world and Paralympic champion Laurens Devos and class 7 two-time European team gold medallist Ben Despineux and despite an injury timeout for Despineux the Belgian pair had too much experience for the young British pair and were 3-0 winners.
“Playing with Theo was a new experience,” said Stacey. “I just wanted to enjoy competing with him and feel as though we both enjoyed it. It was definitely a challenge as we weren’t one of the strongest pairings in terms of physicality, but I think we were pretty clever tactically and it helped a lot in games where we were under pressure. Overall, I just hope that Theo has taken things from it that he can use to develop his game further.”
“I feel that this tournament went really well for me,” said Bishop, “even though I was disappointed with the singles as I feel that I didn’t quite play as well as I can. However, it was great experience to play with someone as good as Josh and I felt that I learned a lot that I can take into future matches and tournaments. It was great to get my first international medal and I hope to repeat this in the future.”
In men’s doubles class MW8 class 4 Lee York teamed up with class 3 player Ahmed Elmahsy from Egypt and after a 3-1 loss to class 5 former top 10 player Ehab Fetir and class 3 African Championships silver medallist Khaled Ramadan Ibrahim from Egypt they came through a tough battle against the class 4 pair of Jashavantbhai Chaudhary and Rameshbhai Chaudhary from India 11-8 in the fifth.
They showed great determination again in their final match to fight back from 2-1 down to beat Ayman Kamal Abdelghafar Zenaty, the class 5 African champion from Egypt, and class 3 Yaqoub Alqasem from Kuwait 3-2.
The win secured them second place in the group and they progressed to the quarter-finals where they were involved in another five-set battle against former class 5 African champion Hassan Tolba and class 3 African Championships medallist Mamdouh Tamam. York and Elmahsy came back twice to level at 1-1 and 2-2 but the Egyptian pair proved just the stronger in the deciding set to take it 11-4.
In the round-robin mixed doubles class MX17 Stacey and Grace Williams began with a 3-0 win over Arora Kunal and Baby Sahana Ravi from India and then lost in four close sets to Lucas Didier and Lucie Hautiere from France with the French pair taking the gold.
Women’s doubles class WS20 was also played in a round-robin format and Grace Williams and fellow class 8 athlete Lucie Hautiere from France lost their first match to the class 9 Hagar Elsayed and class 10 African Championships silver medallist Reda Abdelaal from Egypt 3-1.
They were then beaten 3-0 by class 10 world No 12 Ioana-Monica Tepelea from Romania and class 9 European champion and world No 4 Alexa Szvitacs from Hungary 3-1 who took the gold.