Flight cancellations force Wales to forfeit table tennis matches

Daniel O' Connell and Chloe Thomas
Daniel O' Connell and Chloe Thomas of Wales competed in the Commonwealth Games

Flight cancellations forced Wales to forfeit two matches of the World Table Tennis Championships after players endured delays of more than 30 hours.

Welsh players were caught up in the British Airways power failure that led to the airline cancelling thousands of flights over the bank holiday weekend.

The team tried to travel from Heathrow to host city Dusseldorf, Germany.

Callum Evans and Daniel O'Connell both had to forfeit their opening round singles matches after arriving late.

Chloe Thomas, who won her opening match in the women's singles 4-2 against Emme Arias despite suffering delays of 36 hours, says she and her team-mates experienced "chaos" at the airport as people slept on yoga mats.

"We stood in the check-in queue - not moving - for about an hour, then it came up on the screen that the flight was cancelled," she said.

"To be honest, I wasn't surprised. We didn't think we would make the flight because we were in the queue for such a long time."

After finding out they would not be departing for Dusseldorf as planned, the group joined "another queue the length of the airport" to get a number to rebook.

"It was chaos, people running about all over the place trying to rebook," Thomas said.

"There were lots of people everywhere. There was nowhere to sit, so people were just lying on the floor, sleeping on yoga mats."

Airport staff had handed out the yoga mats, as well as thin blankets, for people who were stuck there overnight, she added. Thomas also said one of the shops at the airport sold out of food.

The problem has been caused by a worldwide systems failure, which BA said is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue.

Thomas and her team-mates had been booked on to another flight out of Birmingham, but that was also cancelled.

Evans and O'Connell played doubles on Monday evening after their earlier forfeits in the singles competition. Had they lost, Evans' tournament would have been over, but they enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Jan Medina and Alex Naumi.

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