By Gary Anderson

Will Bayley secured his first world title beating Ukrainian Maksym Nikolenko in Beijing ©ITTFGreat Britain's Will Bayley claimed he had played "the best game of my life" after overcoming Ukrainian Maksym Nikolenko to win the gold medal at the Para-table tennis World Championships in Beijing. 

The London 2012 silver medallist had earlier overcome Nikolenko's compatriot Mykhaylo Popov, who had beaten him in last year's European Championship final, in today's semi-final to set up a clash between the world's top two players in the men's class seven category.

World number one Nikolenko made a storming start, taking the first set 11-9 and was 7-1 up in the second only for the Briton to launch a memorable comeback.

The 26-year-old surged back to take the second set 12-10 before his new-found momentum saw him power to the third 11-6.

The Ukrainian shot back like a true champion taking the fourth 11-6 to set up a decider.

Nikolenko saved two match points in the final set but it was third time lucky for Bayley as a forehand caught the edge of the table and out of reach of his opponent.

"I've worked for all my life to get that moment when I can say I'm the best in the world and to come here and win the World Championships and say I'm world champion means a lot to me," said Bayley.

"I got tested big time out here.

"I played the best game of my life in the final and I still nearly lost.

"Nikolenko told me it was also the best game he's ever played so that was good to hear from him."

Britain's Will Bayley says the final with Ukraine's Maksym Nikolenko was the best game of his life on his way to being crowned world champion ©ITTFBritain's Will Bayley says the final with Ukraine's Maksym Nikolenko was the best game of his life on his way to being crowned world champion ©ITTF

Another London 2012 silver medallist, Spain's Alvaro Valera, prevailed in the men's class six final overcoming number two seed Peter Rosemeier of Denmark 3-1 while Ukraine's sole success came in the form of Viktor Didukh who defeated China's Ye Chaoqun in straight sets to win the class eight crown.

In the men's class nine and ten categories both finals were a repeat of the gold medal matches from London 2012 and the results were the same.

China's Ma Lin beat Austria's Stanislaw Fraczyk in a straight forward 3-0 win, while Patryk Chojnowski of Poland prevailed in a five-set thriller against Ma's compatriot Ge Yang.

Reigning Paralympic and world champion Feng Panfeng of China continues his dominance in the men's class three category with a surprisingly comfortable 3-0 victory over German Thomas Schmidberger in a repeat of the World Championship final from 2010.

Germany did taste success in the men's class five as the gold medal went to Valentin Baus after he overcame Paralympic champion Tommy Urhaug of Norway.

Another surprise victor was South Korea's Lee Changho, who saw off the challenge of Britain's European champion Robert Davies in the men's class one final.

Ukrainian Viktor Didukh celebrates winning the class eight world title ©ITTFUkrainian Viktor Didukh celebrates winning the class eight world title ©ITTF

Class four honours went to Turkey's Nesim Turan with victory over Choi Ilsang of South Korea, while compatriot Kim Mingyu also had to make do with silver after losing out to Frenchman Fabien Lamirault in the class two decider.

On the women's side, host nation China swept to six of the 10 world titles on offer.

Reigning Paralympic and world champion Liu Jing took gold in the class 1-2 division beating South Korea's Seo Suyuen 3-0.

Li Qian and Zhang Bian prevailed in the class three and class five categories respectively while class four honours went to Zhang Miao who defeated Briton Sue Gilroy in straight sets in the final.

Mao Jingdian added the class eight world title to her collection while Paralympic champion Lei Lina completed her set by seeing off the challenge of compatriot Xiong Guiyan 3-0 in the class nine final.

It was not all plain sailing for home players inside the National Para Training Centre in the Chinese capital  though.

Li Qian was one of a host of Chinese players to claim world titles on home soil in Beijing ©ITTFLi Qian was one of a host of Chinese players to claim world titles on home soil in Beijing ©ITTF

In a thrilling five-setter, current world number one and reigning Paralympic champion Natalia Partyka of Poland was 9-10 down to Yang Qian in the deciding set before recovering to win 12-10 and claim a hard-fought world title.

"I knew from the beginning that it was going to a very tough match" said Partyka.

"I played against Qian in London, and it was also 3-2.

"I saw her and I knew she had good performances here.

"I knew that I had to stay focused and try to play relaxed."

Kelly Van Zon of The Netherlands beat off the challenge of Wang Rui to retain her class seven title on a scoreline of 3-1.

Class six honours went to Croatia's Sandra Paovic, who overcame German Stephanie Grebe, while Anzhelika Kosacheva of Russia defeated Pole Dorota Nowacka in the class 11 decider.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related Stories
September 2014: 
Big names impress as negotiate group stages at Para-table tennis World Championships
September 2014: Beijing prepares to host 2014 ITTF Para World Championships