Proceedings completed, after three days of intense action, on Saturday 5th June in Lasko at the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament, Thailand rose to the occasion, upset the odds and emerged one of the most prominent nations.
A determined ThirayuChueawong
Only the winners in each category gaining Tokyo places, both Panwas Sringnam and ThirayuChueawong emerged successful; joining the duo as a result of their efforts in the Slovenian city will be Japan’s Koya Kato and Korea Republic’s Moon Sungkeum.
On the concluding day of play, Panwas Sringamhad the luxury of watching others fight for the privilege; on the penultimate day of play she had emerged the winner of women’s class 5. Organisedon a group basis, she had finished ahead of Korea Republic’s top seeded Kang Oejong, Israel’s Caroline Tabib, Japan’s Kimie Bessho and Serbia’s Biljana Ubovic.
Boarding Pass for Panwas Sringamshe
A surprise win for Panwas Sringamshe was the fourth highest ranked in the event; for Moon Sungkeum, her win was an even bigger upset. She was the lowest listed of all eight players in women’s class 6.
Moon Sungkeum ready for Tokyo
Second place in the group phase, notably beating Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal, the top seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6) but losing to Romania’s Gabriela Constantin (11-5, 11-7, 11-4); after, at the semi-final stage, ousting Great Britain’s Felicity Pickard, the no.2 seed, by the narrowest of margins (6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 2-11, 13-11), in the final she turned the tables. She beat Gabriela Constantin (11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4) to secure her Tokyo ticket.
Similarly, the success achieved by ThirayuChueawong was a major surprise; like Moon Sungkeum, he was not predicted to progress to the main draw and also like the Korean he extracted revenge.
In the group stage he was beaten by Italy’s Federico Crosara (10-12, 15-13, 11-9, 12-10); in the final, after accounting Korea Republic’s Kang Changyong, the top seed (4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 15-13), he overcame Federico Crosara (11-8, 7-11, 18-16, 7-11, 11-4) to arrest the title.
Koya Kato immediately after securing his Tokyo place
Wins against the odds, for Koya Kato, matters were different; he justified his top seeded position in men’s class 11. In the penultimate round he beat Frenchman Timothe Ivaldi (9-11, 11-2, 9-11, 13-11, 11-5), prior to securing the title at the expense of Korea Republic’s Kim Changgi, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 10-12, 11-8).
Overall, 140 men and 70 women competed in Lasko.
Editor: Ian Marshall