Will Bayley sinks to the floor, every drop of sweat brought him one step closer to the gold medal, but it wasn't enough. German Jochen Wollmert had defeated him in the Excel Arena. The current world number two lost 1-3 to the German player in the gold medal match of the men's class seven table tennis final. Wollmert, who plays only on the backhand, temporarily lost concentration, allowing Bayley to win the second set. “After the second set I told myself: ’Try to play the way you always do’,” Wollmert said. But the slip was only temporary and he won the next two sets. Before London, Bayley had only lost once in ten games against Wollmert.
The players had the crowd on their feet throughout the match, the majority roaring the name of Britain's biggest table tennis prospect. Bayley said after the match: “I think I wanted it a bit too much for the spectators.” Wollmert was encouraged by the people. “It was fantastic to play in front of this crowd with the special atmosphere,” he said. “Bayley needs the crowd, but the crowd made him nervous at the same time.” Wollmert is almost double Bayley's age at 47, but managed to successfully defend his Paralympic title.
The relationship between the two players before the match could be described as nothing less than hostile, with Wollmert admitting: “We're not close friends and I'd love to beat him in London.” Bayley was in a state of disbelief after the match: “I can't believe he's won it again, it's ridiculous. I'm just so shocked he won it,” he admitted. However, now Bayley has his sights set on Rio 2016, and is looking to avenge this defeat: “He won't beat me in Rio.”
BRADLEY NEEN, 17 YEARS