Play in the individual events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games concluded in the Metropolitan Gymnasium on Monday 30th August; China’s Zhao Shuai and Korea Republic’s Joo Youngdae very much emerged the names to note.
Gold for Joo Youngdae
The silver medallist in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Joo Youngdae, now 48 years old, beat his younger 25-year-old compatriot, Kim Hyeonuk in four games (11-8, 13-11, 2-11, 12-10) to arrest the title.
It was a contest in which the “scoop” stroke was very much in evidence. The player attempts to hit the ball high in the air, trying to land it near the net at the opponent’s side of the table; for a player in a wheelchair difficult to reach.
Overall, for both players the tactic met with minimal success.
Success for Joo Youngdae came after China’s Zhao Shuai had won men’s singles class 8, beating Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh in the final (17-15, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10); the fast forehand stroke from Zhao Shuai, a winning weapon.
Zhao Shuai again successful
Gold for Zhao Shuai and gold for the third time, previously he won in both London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).
Notable success, it was somewhat different for Korea Republic’s Kim Younggun and China’s Xiong Guiyan.
Competing in men’s singles class 4, Kim Younggun was beaten by Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk in a hard fought four games encounter (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10). A major feature as the match progressed was the increase in the number of long rallies, both players reacting quickly and demonstrating applaudable anticipation.
Meanwhile, for Xiong Guiyan, a pen-hold grip player who uses a combination racket comprising smooth reversed rubber and long pimples, it was defeat at the hands of former colleague, Lei Li Na (6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5), a player who now represents Australia.
Play in the team events commences on Tuesday 31st August and concludes on Friday 3rd September.
Editor: Ian Marshall