Widnes table tennis champion wins silver on his road to Rio

Jack Hunter-Spivey

Jack Hunter-Spivey

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A WIDNES table tennis champion is a step closer to his dream of competing at the Paralympics in Rio.

Jack Hunter-Spivey, aged 19, won a silver medal in the men’s class five team event at the Slovenia Open.

He enjoyed one of the best wins of his career in the singles tournament beating world number three Mitar Palicuca from Serbia 3-1.

In the team competition, he was partnered by Tommy Urhaug, the Paralympic champion and world number one.

Former SS Peter & Paul Catholic College pupil Jack, who has cerebral palsy, said: “Tommy has a wealth of experience. You can learn everything from him, from technique to lifestyle to how he conducts himself in different situations.”

Wheelchair player Jack was blind and deaf until he was nine months old.

He discovered his passion for table tennis when he was a young schoolboy and trains at Halton Table Tennis Club.

He was selected for his first GB development camp when he was 11 and joined the performance squad in 2011.

Liverpool fan Jack said: “Representing your country is a massive achievement. I’ve got to be in the top 12 in the world by the end of 2015 to compete in Rio.”

Jack and Tommy topped their group with a 3-0 win against Croatia, played a quarter final against the Czech Republic, beat Turkey 3-0 in the semi final but lost in the final 3-2 to France.

Jack added: “I played well in the semi-final and won my singles against a player I’ve struggled against in the past but I felt I could have played a lot better in the final.

“I’m disappointed not to get the gold but on reflection I’ve had a good tournament and need to kick on to Slovakia now.

“I’m starting to get good results.”

Jack competes in the Slovakia Open from May 14-17.

 

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