After the emotion of their women’s team table tennis quarter-final win over Jordan, which guaranteed a podium place, it was back to earth in the semi-finals in Tokyo.
China are a powerhouse in this sport and they showed no mercy in a one-sided affair.
The British pair lost in straight games in a doubles encounter with Zhang Bian and Zhou Ying – both singles gold medallists in their respective classifications.
And then Shackleton lost her singles rubber in double quick time against Zhang – the whole match over in just 38 minutes.
“Coming back from what I felt was a slightly disappointing singles where I’d like to have progressed a bit further,” said Shackleton, 22, who didn’t progress beyond the group stages of the individual event.
“I just brought all those feelings into the team event. I felt that I managed to play a better level and I’m really pushing some of the top guys now so to take a medal at my first Games is an incredible feeling.
Todmorden’s Shackleton is 26 years Bailey’s junior, her elder partner finally achieving her podium ambition in her seventh appearance at these Games, having lost a bronze medal singles match in Rio.
And even though she’ll have turned 50 by the next Games in Paris, Barnsley’s Bailey is in no mood to quit the stage.
“They’re a strong team so we knew it was tough coming in but we knew we had a bronze medal so we just wanted to enjoy it and play the best we can,” she said.
“We played so well in the doubles so I’m just so proud of us as a team. It’s been such a long time coming so I’m thrilled to bits we’ve finally got that medal and at Megan’s first Paralympic Games. What a fantastic partner I’ve got and I can’t wait for the future for us both.”
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