Team Bath MCTA Tennis ace Luke Johnson wins second silver of World Uni Games for Bath-based athletes
Johnson and partner Jack Findel-Hawkins produced a series of excellent performances, including a straight-sets win over home favourites Cheng-Peng Hsieh and Hsien-Yin Peng, to reach the men’s doubles final.
Russia’s Richard Muzaev and Aslan Karatsev took the opening set 6-1 but the Brits battled back brilliantly to take the second 6-3 and force a decisive tie-break.
There was little between the pairs once again during an absorbing contest but the Russians eventually came out on top 10-7 to take the gold medal.
Johnson, who moved his training base to the University of Bath after graduating from Clemson University in the United States last year, said: “Overall we are happy with our performance and happy to take home a silver medal for Great Britain.
“We lost a few key points in the first set but managed to think clearly in the changeover and executed our game-plan well in the second set. In the tie-break, they hit some great shots at key moments and I think that was the difference.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience, I’ve personally loved every minute and it’s been an honour and privilege to represent Great Britain. My plans now are to mentally and physically refresh, then I have some professional tournaments back in England where I hope to build on this silver medal and keep improving my world ranking.”
Johnson also reached the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles competition with Olivia Nicholls, finishing fifth overall. The British team in Taipei was captained by Barry Scollo, Director of Tennis at Team Bath.
The result in the men’s doubles means University of Bath-based athletes won two silver medals at the World University Games, with MJ Church ambassador and Sports Performance graduate Jay Lelliott having been runner-up in the 400m freestyle.
The swimmer is coached by Mark Skimming, who was one of four University of Bath staff members in the British Universities & Colleges Sport [BUCS] support team along with Scollo, Strength & Conditioning Coach Corinne Yorston and physio Jack Dawkins.
Five other University of Bath-based student-athletes also competed in Taipei. Tennis player Emma Hurst (Sport & Exercise Science) reached the fourth round of the women’s singles; Jenny Nesbitt (Sport & Social Sciences) was fifth in the 10,000m; fellow athlete Jacob Paul (Sport & Social Sciences graduate) missed out on a place in the 400m hurdles final by just four-hundredths of a second; swimmer Anna Hopkin (Sport & Exercise Science) helped GB finish fourth in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay; and footballer Emily Donovan (Sport & Social Sciences) was part of the women’s team that finished ninth overall.
The World University Games is the second-biggest multi-sport in the world after the Olympic Games, with the 2017 edition featuring nearly 10,000 athletes from more than 170 countries.
Top picture: Men’s doubles silver-medallists Jack Findel-Hawkins (left) and Luke Johnson (right) with team captain Barry Scollo and team manager Alistair Higham.