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McKibbin's "greatest ever win" leads to table tennis silver glory
Wandsworth’s Paralympian table tennis star Aaron McKibbin has hailed his silver-medal winning performance in the Slovenia Open as the best win of his career.
On the opening day of competition in the men’s class 10 team event, the 22-year-old beat world number eight Pavel Lukyanov of Russia (3-2), before he joined forces with Kim Daybell to beay Lukyanov and Iurii Nostrodov (3-0).
McKibbin and Daybell then beat the Netherlands (3-1) in the semi-final, before going down 3-0 to Spain in the final.
“Beating Lukyanov is definitely the best win of my career. I was a bit nervous when I lost the fourth set because I had my chance to take it but I felt relaxed going into the fifth set because all the pressure was on him and I had nothing to lose,” McKibbin said.
“It’s massive for my confidence and it shows that I can compete. Although I didn’t get the results in the singles I knew I was playing well and it was just a case of putting it into practice.”
His team-mate Daybell said: “We maybe just ran out of steam a little bit but overall it’s the first time we’ve played together and we’ve played well.
“Aaron has held his own against all the higher class players and I’ve been able to pick up results here and there so overall it’s been positive.”
In the class eight singles, McKibbin, a London 2012 bronze medallist, was outplayed by the world number two Emil Andersson from Sweden, but he progressed reached the knockout stages with a 3-1 win over Miroslav Jambor from Slovakia.
In the last 16, he played another Slovakian Richard Csejtey, and the former world champion and London 2012 silver medalist had too much experience and took the match 3-1.
For McKibbin it was an improvement on his performance in the singles event.
He added: “I played well in the singles matches as well - obviously it’s harder for me to get the wins but I’ve been competing so I’m happy with that and it’s a good medal to win.
“This is the best I’ve played all season and it’s been nice to play with Kim.
“The final doubles against Spain was the first doubles match we’ve lost and that’s the best I’ve played in doubles for a long time.
“It’s put me in good stead for Slovakia and I just need to keep it going.”
Winners in arms: Aaron McKibbin and Kim Daybell