IT'S a bronze medal for Widnes table tennis ace Jack Hunter-Spivey in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

He was defeated by 2014 World champion Valentin Baus in today's semi-finals after accounting for the second and third seeds in earlier matches.

Hunter-Spivey, 26, had memorably beaten Baus when the German was defending his world title in 2018 but he has never played a major semi-final before.

The greater experience of the Rio 2016 silver medallist and European champion proved decisive today.

He took the first game 11-7 and although Hunter-Spivey fought back admirably from 5-1 down in the second to lead 10-8 Baus was able to edge the game 12-10.

Despite shouts of ‘fight!’ and ‘come on!’ Hunter-Spivey could not reproduce the heroics of the previous two days and Baus completed a 3-0 win 11-7 in the third.

Hunter-Spivey refused to make any excuses.

“I don’t think it was a match too far today,” he said.

“I felt going in that I could win the match.

"My level is higher than it has ever been and it’s unchartered territory for me here but Baus played unreal.

"He’s one of the best players in the world and I can look back and say I’m one of the best players in the world now and that is such a strange feeling.

"Yesterday was a big win but I had a big win in the group then another win so I definitely have it in the locker to do that. I just think we didn’t quite get it right on the day but he was better than me.

“It hasn’t really sunk in (that I’ve won a Paralympic medal). I think when I get the medal round my neck on the podium it will sink in.

"The support I have received back home is absolutely incredible; my phone has been going off and it felt like I had 10,000 people behind me watching at home.

"Once I get the medal and get home I can celebrate and feel good. At the moment it doesn’t feel real but once I get the medal round my neck it will be perfect.

“This gives me all the motivation. I’ve worked 16 years now to try and get to this point and I thought it was never going to happen.

"I was ‘Mr Quarter Final’ - I’ve lost in every major quarter final and now I’ve won one and got a medal and beat my absolute idol who is one of the best players in the world to do it.

"No-one can say I was given a medal. I’ve beaten the world number two and three on the way so yes it motivates me completely because I’m only 26. I’ve got a whole load of work in front of me but if I carry on like I am doing I can definitely dominate.”