Aiming to complete a successful defence of titles secured now approaching five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, players from China with that quest in mind, were very much on course on Thursday 26th August after two days of action at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Feng Penfeng, competing in men’s singles class 3,, duly maintained a perfect record to secure first place in his group, a situation that also applied to Cao Ningning in class 5.
Cao Ningning on course for succesful title defence
Both have fully justified their top seeded position and have main draw places reserved.
It is the same for Zhao Shuai in men’s singles class 8, he occupies group top spot, but he is not the top seed; he stands next in line to Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh, undoubtedly his major rival for gold. Similarly, he witnessed no series problems advancing to first place.
A challenge from Viktor Didukh, there could also be a major challenge from a compatriot. Peng Weinan caused an upset of note by beating Great Britain’s Ross Wilson, the no.3 seed (11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9) to secure group top spot.
Also, a further Chinese name to note in the men’s singles events is Lian Ho; competing in class 10, the no.3 seed, he duly reserved group first place.
Likewise, in the women’s singles, defending champions Liu Jing and Xue Juan are the second seeds. In class 1-2, Liu Jing is next in line to Italy’s Giada Rossi, in class 3 Xue Juan is one place behind Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlquist.
Unblemished records but that is not the situation for Li Qian, a potential medal candidate; the no.4 seed, present in class 3, she experienced a group phase reverse when facing Korea Republic’s Lee Migu (14-12, 15-13, 12-10)
Impressive, just as in Rio de Janeiro, they are very much names to note, a situation that applies to Zhang Bian in class 5 and Mao Jingdian in class 8. They occupy the top seeded position in their respective categories and are duly unbeaten.
Rather differently for compatriot, Pan Jiamin, there was disappointment; like Li Qian, she experienced defeat at Korea Republic hands; the no.3 seed, she was beaten by Jung Younga (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8).
Notably, Ge Yang who won men’s singles class 10 in Rio de Janeiro and Liu Meng, women’s singles class 9, do not compete in Tokyo.
Editor: Ian Marshall