Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun, competing in class 4 and Korea Republic’s Kim Hunhea, on duty in class 9, justified their top seeded positions to end the second day of play, Friday 4th June, unbeaten at the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament in Lasko, Sweden.
However, as matters advanced to the semi-final stage, the player to shine above all others was Thailand’s Panwas Sringam; the 19-year-old who has no international open title to her credit, emerged the first player to book her place in Tokyo.
A rank outsider, the fourth highest rated in a group of five players, she completed her itinerary unbeaten by overcoming Japan’s Kimie Bessho (12-10, 11-5, 12-10) and Serbia’s Biljana Ubovic (11-3, 11-5, 12-10). Notably, the previous day, she had beaten Israel’s Caroline Tabib (11-2, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6) and Korea Republic’s Kang Oejeong, the top seed (11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4).
Success against the odds and there was more success for Asia in the women’s events.
Not seeded, Japan’s Yukimi Chada advanced to the semi-final round in class 3, as in class 10 did her colleague Nozomi Takeuchi. Likewise, contrary to expectations, Jordan’s Faten Elelimat progressed to the last four in class 4, as in class 6 did Moon Sungkeum.
A surprise semi-final place for Jordan's Faten Elelimat but pride of place went to Panwas Sringam
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, occupying the top seeded positions; Korea Republic’s Kang Changyoung on duty in class 2 and Japan’s Koya Kato in class 11, secured semi-final places as predicted.
Progress as expected, it was the same for the second seeds Kim Kiyoung in class 5 and Kim Changgi in class 11; additionally, the no.4 seed, Japan’s Masachiko Inoue, reserved a semi-final berth in class 7. Also, not too great a surprise, Chinese Taipei’s Su Jin Sian, the no.5 seed, in class 10, claimed a last four spot.
However, there was one notable upset in the men’s events. At the quarter-final stage in class 8, Thailand’s Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri, the top seed, was beaten by Slovakia’s 41 year old Richard Csejtey, the no.4 seed and 2006 world champion. He was beaten in a full distance five games contest (12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 2-11, 11-6).
An unexpected semi-final place for Richard Csejtey; in class 2, for Asia it was the same for Japan’s Nobuhiro Minami and Thairayu Chueawong, like Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri, also from Thailand.
Success against the odds for Japan, there was more; in class 4 Genki Saito booked a semi-final spot as in class 6 did Kazuki Shichino.
Play concludes on Saturday 5th June, only the winners of each class gain places in Tokyo.
Editor: Ian Marshall