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Tough Draw, Paralympic Champion First Match but Frenchman Not Downhearted
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor


Yann Bourieau richer for the experience  Photo By: Richard Xue

11/29/2012       

There are tough draws and there are very tough draws; for Yann Bourieau of France it was extremely tough. In fact it could not have been tougher.

In the first stage of proceedings in the Men’s Singles Class 6 event at the Mike Dempsey Memorial Para Table Tennis Tournament in the west coast American city of San Diego, he faced Norway’s Tommy Urhaug; difficult to say the least.

Tommy Urhaug won the gold medal in the Men’s Singles Class 5 event at the London 2012 Paralympic Games; he is a superstar!

Predictably, it was a straight games win for the top seed.

Tommy Urhaug won 11-5, 11-4, 11-6.

Great Player
Defeat for the Frenchman but he was not downhearted.

“He’s a great player”, reflected Yann Bourieau. “He keeps you under pressure all the time; he is a level above me.”

Learning Experience
It was very much for the Frenchman, who lives in Versailles and plays for the Evry Club in the Parisien suburbs, a learning experience.

“I have played Tommy once before and on that occasion he also beat me”, continued Yann Bourieau. “I couldn’t find a way to beat him.”

Nor could anyone else in the ExCeL Exhibition Centre at the London 2012 Paralympic Games; 38 year old Yann Bourieau is not alone!

High Level
“He plays at a consistently high level”, sighed the gallant Frenchman. “I lost but I’m not disappointed, I feel I played to my level.”

Yann Bourieau had no reason to be disappointed; he had given his best; one can ask for no more.

Improve Block
“I felt confident returning his service; that didn’t cause me too many problems but perhaps he was not using his best services”, added Yann Bourieau. “The main problem was his forehand top spin; I made too many mistakes trying to block his forehand; that’s the area of my play I need to improve.”

A learning process and clearly Yann Bourieau has learned.

Richer for Experience
“Also, he kept making changes”, concluded the modest Parisien. “I couldn’t find a rhythm to my play; it was difficult to anticipate the next stroke.”

Difficult but it was a smiling Yann Bourieau who departed the arena; a man richer for the experience.

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