Aaron McKibbin was in dress rehearsal mode last weekend when he won table tennis bronze at the ITTF PTT Slovenia Open.

With doubles partner Ross Wilson, with whom he won London 2012 Paralympic bronze, McKibbin took on the world’s best in Lasko, including world champions China.

The pair beat Belgium in the quarter-final to set up a semi-final against China, and just came out the wrong side of a 3-2 scoreline, only losing the fifth and final match 11-9.

Despite the disappointed, McKibbin was pleased with his progress four months away from the Paralympic Games in Rio.

The 24-year-old said: “To play so well against China is a good sign as they are one of the teams we are going to have to beat to be successful in Rio.

“We are playing these competitions to prepare ourselves for the major events and we are not far away from them.

“It gives you confidence when you are losing 11-9 in the fifth - you are disappointed, but at the same time you are thinking that in a major event we are really close to them now and we’ve only got to do a couple of things to change that result around.”

Earlier in the tournament McKibbin had reached the quarter-finals of the men’s class 8 singles, beating Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland, the former European champion and World and Paralympic team gold medallist.

However, he paid the penalty for a poor start in his quarter final against Emil Andersson, the Swedish world number seven, who took the match 11-8 in the fourth.

McKibbin is playing in the Slovakia Open this week and is hoping to build on results in Slovenia as he continues his preparation for Rio.

He added: “Individually and as a team we are in a good position.

“Everyone is improving and playing well and confidence should be high.

“Obviously not everyone has got the results they wanted - myself included - but I’m confident that I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to testing myself and trying to push on and get a few better results.”