Will Bayley targets European gold to secure Rio Paralympic place

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
GB para table tennis players set for crucial Europeans

Paralympic silver medallist Will Bayley believes he has a 'point to prove' as he bids to reclaim the European table tennis title in Vejle, Denmark.

Bayley - born with arthrogryposis - won gold 2011 and silver in 2013, but has since become the World champion and 'class seven'external-link world number one player.

Victory in the event which runs from 12-17 October would also secure him a place at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

"Rio is in my mind every single day," Bayley told BBC Sport.

He is part of a 15-strong British squad for the Europeans in Denmark, which also features defending champion Rob Davies.

"Losing in the final of London 2012 in front of my friends and family was one of the toughest things in my life, but I bounced back and am focused on putting that right in Brazil," said Bayley.

"I feel like I have a point to prove now and I really want to stamp my authority on the sport."

GB ITTF Para table tennis European squad
Rob Davies (class 1), Tom Matthews (class 1), Jack Hunter-Spivey (class 5), Paul Karabardak (class 6), David Wetherill (class 6), Will Bayley (class 7), Billy Shilton (class 7), Ross Wilson (class 8), Aaron McKibbin (class 8), Ashley Facey-Thompson (class 9), Kim Daybell (class 10)Jane Campbell (class 3), Sara Head (class 3), Megan Shackleton (class 4), Sue Gilroy (class 4).

Davies has been plagued by an on-going back injury since winning two gold medals at the last European Championships in 2013, but hopes he is now in a physically stronger position.

"It's about managing my body and how much I train at the moment," said the 31 year old former rugby player,

"The last few weeks have been really positive and I'm playing some good table tennis."

The GB team also includes World championship silver medalist Sue Gilroy, London 2012 Paralympic bronze medallists Jane Campbell, Sara Head, Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin and talented teenagers Megan Shackleton and Billy Shilton.

16-year-old Shilton, who will be making his major championship debut, will play with Bayley in the men's class 7 team event in Denmark.

The partnership has already proved successful - beating World champions Spain to win gold in Slovenia earlier this year.

"Playing team with Will in a major will be an amazing experience for me," said Shilton, "he always performs his best at major competitions."