Wakefield's Lee York wins his first international para table tennis medals in Costa Rica
Wakefield’s Lee York has brought back his first international medals from the ITTF Para Copa Costa Rica table tennis tournament.
Together with fellow Pathway athlete Dan Bullen, 32-year-old Lee earned a bronze in the men’s class 1-5 team and he also earned a bronze in the class 4 singles.
Bullen and York began with a 2-0 win against the second team from Costa Rica, winning the doubles 3-0 and York winning the first singles against Sebastian Chaves Quiroz 3-0.
Against the top seeds from Chile, they lost a close doubles 3-2 and Bullen was just edged out in another five-set match by Maximiliano Rodriguez Avila 11-9 in the fifth.
The British pair secured second place in the group with a 2-0 win against Canada, taking the doubles 3-0 and York winning the first singles against Mohsin Ali Wotto 3-0.
In the semi-final they played the American/Canadian partnership of Ahad Bakhshaei Sarand and Muhammad Mudassar and had to settle for bronze after they lost a close doubles match 3-2 and Bullen was beaten 3-0 by Sarand.
“I really feel that Dan and I work well together and I feel that we understand each other’s game very well,” said York.
“I think we were a bit unlucky in the doubles (in the semi-final) and the result could have gone either way.
“I know what I have to work on and can’t wait to get home and get started.
“I really want to say thank you to the rest of the team for their support. Everyone out here has worked so well together and been there for each other.”
Lee’s GB partner Bullen said: “I love playing team with Lee and we played some brilliant doubles.
“He is so supportive in the corner when I play and he gets me fired up for the doubles, which is good.
“This is only the third time we have played team together and after losing out on a medal on countback in Spain last month it is great to get a bronze here.
“It’s been a good experience and I really think we can be a force to be reckoned with in the doubles if we keep going.
“It was a tough singles for me after beating him (Sarand) 3-2 yesterday.
“I played well but he came out on top unfortunately and there are just a few little things I need to tweak to get him next time.”
In his singles competition in Costa Rica, Lee began with a close match against Chile’s Maximiliano Rodriguez Avila and led 2-0 before the 31-year-old PanAmerican bronze medallist, who won gold in the men’s class 4-5 singles at the Czech Open earlier this year, fought back to win 11-9 in the fifth.
The Wakefield man secured his place in the semi-finals, however, with a 3-0 win against 14-year-old Sebastian Chaves Quiroz, from Costa Rica, and was not disgraced in a 3-0 loss to top seed Cristian Gonzalez Astete, from Chile, the class 4 PanAmerican champion.
“It was so nice to get my first international win,” said York.
“It feels like a huge weight has been lifted and what I have been working on in training is finally paying off.
“The matches where I lost I felt were much closer and I have taken many things away from them that I can address and work on in the training hall when I’m back home.”