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Kim makes French connection

Ping-pong ace teams up to earn a bronze in Finland – but vows to aim higher

17 October, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Kim Daybell – a junior doctor at the Whittington Hospital in Archway – in action for Team GB

SPIN doctor Kim Daybell bagged a bronze medal for Britain over the weekend at the Para Table Tennis (PTT) Finland Open.

Despite the medal success, however, Daybell, who works as a junior doctor at the Whittington Hospital in Archway, vowed to bounce back after admitting that he was “disappointed” not to take advantage of some “good performances” at the table.

In the Finland Open players can join forces with athletes from other countries in the team events. And as Britain didn’t have another player in Daybell’s category, the 27-year-old teamed up with France’s Benoit Grasset.

The pair lost their first group match in the men’s class 10 team competition 2-1 to the Indonesia team of world number two David Jacobs and Komet Akbar.

But they still managed to progress to the semi-finals courtesy of a 2-0 win against Ivan Karpov and Ivan Shmuilo from Russia.

Their topsy-turvy turn at the table was halted in the final four when they were beaten 2-0 by France’s European silver medallists Mateo Boheas and Gilles De La Bourdonnaye, with Daybell losing his closely fought contest to world number four Boheas 3-2.

“I had some good performances during the tournament and was disappointed not to turn them into wins,” said Daybell, who was born with Poland’s syndrome, a rare condition characterised by underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle on one side of the body.

“It’s been a tough season but I have to keep trusting in my game and hopefully I can turn things around,” he added.

Daybell’s bronze capped a great showing for the British team in Lahti. There were team gold medals for Ashley Facey Thompson and Joshua Stacey, and Martin Perry and Lucie Bouron, while Fliss Pickard and Billy Shilton scooped silver medals.

Daybell, who represented Team GB in the Paralympics at London 2012 and Rio 2016, was born and raised in Sheffield.

When he can’t make it home to practise, however, he heads for a table in Westminster. He trains with coaches at Greenhouse Sports in Cosway Street, Marylebone, where the London-based charity uses sport to help young people living in the inner city to realise their full potential.

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