Top table service for bronze GB stars
The GB Men’s Open table tennis team won bronze on Day Seven at the the Maccabiah.
The first medal won by the men’s open team for almost 30 years, excluding the intifada Games, was thanks to GB fielding its strongest and most prepared table tennis squad ever.
Victories against the Rest of the World, Greece (3-0) and Austria (3-0) set up a fascinating match against Russia to decide the winners of Group B. Russia won 3-1 but it was a classic.
Ashley Stokes narrowly lost against Georgy Rubinstein and with Adam Laws losing to former world number 187 Brainin it looked all over. However, Dov Katz, playing in his 4th Maccabiah, showed his class and experience to bury the Russian Sherman 3-2, 11-9 in the final nail-biting set. Although Stokes lost to Brainin the boys fought well and progressed to the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, GB narrowly lost to the holders Israel 3-1 but in the play-off for bronze, GB beat Australia 3-2, Laws winning the final rubber with some very cool play following a good win by Keith Lesser.
Squad captain Dov Katz commented: "An amazing result. The men’s table tennis is one of the hardest events to win a medal in. Our squad consists of top 70 England players and this was evident in the performances. Our victory is the culmination of many months of hard work and steely resilience. I am proud of the boys and well done indeed to our manager Robin Ashleigh whose excellent management and coaching were the fifth man."
A fine achievement with table tennis being one of the most competitive sports with world ranked players present.
GB: Ashley Stokes, Dov Katz, Adam Laws, Keith Lesser. Manager: Robin Ashleigh
Bronze: Great Britain