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McKibbin getting ever closer to the world's best
Aaron McKibbin’s European Para Table Tennis Championships ended in disappointment despite a strong start.
The 21-year-old from Wandsworth won all three of his round-robin games to top his class 8 group but then found himself drawn against former world champion and London 2012 silver medallist Richard Csejtey in the last 16.
McKibbin, 13th in the world, put up a good fight but lost in three close sets, 11-8 13-11 13-11, with Csejtey going on to claim silver.
However, McKibbin could be proud of his efforts having topped his group following wins over Josef Krsiak 3-2, world number 10 Marc Ledoux, 3-0, and Arsenty Shlyndrov 3-1.
“I’m pleased with the performance against Csejtey – I played really well,” he said.
“I was in the zone and I think I stuck to the tactics really well.
“He is a style I do really struggle with and even though I have beaten him before I feel that is the best I’ve played against him.
“I was 9-5 up in the second set and if I had taken that it could have been a different match because the last two sets were so close.
“I’m disappointed to have lost because I felt I had a great chance of a medal but I know I played well.
“I knew if I was going to win a medal I was going to have to beat a top player and it just so happened that my draw swapped around.
“I performed better here than in London which shows I’ve improved – it’s the best I’ve played against him and I know the top players are scared of me now, so I can go back to training and look toward the worlds next year knowing I am closer to the top players.”
While McKibbin may not have medalled, it was a successful tournament for Team GB as they won one gold, two silver and two bronze medals in individual events.