Not very often can Thanet boast it has a Commonwealth or a World Champion. Well Paralympic table tennis star Ross Wilson from Minster can lay claim to both.
Ross, who took the Commonwealth Champion earlier this year, won the Gold Medal at the World Championships in Slovenia in October.
Ross trains with the British team out of Sheffield. However with his family living here he has maintained close ties to Thanet. Last year The Isle of Thanet News reported on a day where he inspired pupils at Laleham Gap School.
Paul Ursell, who teaches and is also the table tennis coach at Laleham Gap, said “Ross has had a fantastic year. When he spoke to our pupils he told them of the ups and downs of sport. How he had overcome a series of injuries and although his world ranking had dipped he was still targeting 2018 as a year he could get back up there, hopefully to the very top. And now he has done it. It is a great message to our students.”
In the semi final Ross had to beat a player who had twice knocked him out in recent major tournaments. Once in the final he had to play double Paralympic champion Zhao Shui from China. Zhao had beaten Ross in London and Rio.
The final was a thrilling affair. Ross won the first set, then Zhao took the next two. Then trailing 7:4 it looked as if Ross might have to settle for silver. But he took the game to the decider.
In the last game the points ebbed and flowed with Ross taking a lead, then Zhao, then Ross before Zhao had a match point and Ross came back to take it 14:12.
The 23-year-old broke his neck in a mountain bike accident when he was 16, says he is now targeting the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Mr Ursell said: “With Ross in this form he has every chance if he can stay injury free. “Certainly pupils at my school and people throughout Thanet will be willing him on.”
Report Paul Ursell