With the qualification period for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games starting next month, British Para Table Tennis has appointed Andrew Rushton as Head Coach while Pathway Manager Shaun Marples will take on additional responsibilities as Programme Manager.
Rushton, a former England international and Commonwealth Games medallist, joined BPTT as a Performance coach in 2017 and coached the men’s class 6 team to be European Champions in 2017 and 2019.
He also coached Jack Hunter-Spivey to win bronze in the men’s class 5 singles and Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak to win a silver medal in the men’s class 6-7 team event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, as well as Will Bayley to win gold in the men’s class 7 singles and Paul Karabardak and Billy Shilton to win gold in the men’s class 14 doubles at the World Championships in Spain last year.
Rushton (pictured above, main photo, with Hunter-Spivey) will be responsible for all the athletes during the qualification period for Paris 2024 with the key focus on qualifying athletes for singles and doubles events.
Marples, a former British Universities champion, joined British Para Table Tennis in 2013 to identify and develop new players and has overseen the development of the Pathway programme from which Tom Matthews, Martin Perry, Billy Shilton, Joshua Stacey, Megan Shackleton, Fliss Pickard and Grace Williams have progressed to the Performance squad and taken medals at major championships.
Marples also coached Fliss Pickard and Grace Williams to win gold in the women’s class 14 doubles at the World Championships (pictured inset above). He will be supporting the team during the qualification period for Paris 2024, liaising with the staff and athletes on a regular basis while continuing to be responsible for the future development of athletes as Pathway Manager.
BPTT Performance Director Gorazd Vecko said: “I am delighted that Andrew and Shaun have accepted the additional responsibility of their new roles as they have both been integral to the success of the team over the past few years.
“Andrew brings a wealth of experience to the training hall and has proved his coaching skills by guiding a variety of athletes to success at major championships. His commitment to the athletes is obvious at every training session and his energy and enthusiasm have helped to create a positive environment in which athletes and support staff can thrive, both at our training base in Sheffield and at international tournaments.
“Shaun has overseen our Pathway programme since its inception in 2013 and his dedication, planning and development of athletes as they progress towards the Performance squad has enabled us to produce players who can, not only represent their country at a Paralympic Games, but win medals. His knowledge and experience of classification has also been invaluable as well as his coaching ability and his management of athletes at home and abroad.
“After the most successful performance by a British team at a Paralympic Games, with seven medals in Tokyo, and a World Championships, with 10 medals in Spain last year, we are now focused on the qualification period for Paris 2024 and both Andrew and Shaun will play a huge part in that process.”