A GRAVESEND man defied the odds to secure runners-up spot at the UK men’s open wallball championships.

Luke Thomson, 21, went into the competition as the number six seed in an event which attracted 114 entrants from 11 countries.

Wallball is a fast but simple sport where players compete against each other by hitting a ball against a wall with their hands.

Thomson enjoyed victories over the European number one Guillaume Doumilon in the quarter-finals (21-18) and Great Britain number one Daniel Grant (21-20) in the semis on his way to the final.

Vlad Klym, a full-time player and one of the world’s top 10, was his opponent and although a huge underdog, Thomson started brightly and was neck and neck with the top seed at the half way stage.

But experience told in the end and the American began to take charge and won the match 21-14. Thomson said: “Although it’s always disappointing to lose in a final, I’m delighted to have made it this far.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to make my mark on the men’s scene and it’s great to know I can already compete with the best in Europe.

“I am massively thankful for the support Gravesham Borough Council and Cygnets Leisure Centre give me.

“Hopefully when the new courts get set up we can ensure more people get a chance to enjoy this fantastic game.”

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