Tommy Urhaug, the hero of Norway
Photo By: Gael Marziou
A bronze medal at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008, a silver medal two years later at the World Para Table Tennis Championships in Gwangju; Norway’s Tommy Urhaug continued his policy of moving one step higher up the medal order at the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Sunday 2nd September.
Amid scenes of virtual hysteria, the applause audible in Oslo, he won the Men’s Singles Class 5 title in a packed to capacity ExCeL North Arena, causing an upset in the process.
Occupying the second seeded position, he beat top seed, China’s Cao Ningning at the final hurdle. Tommy Urhaug recovered from an opening game deficit to record a four games victory (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9).
Gold for Norway and as pandemonium reigned in London Docklands, quietly Korea’s Jung Eun Chang, the no.3 seed, secured the bronze medal.
He overcame Gregory Rosec of France, the no.6 seed, in three straight games (11-9, 11-7, 13-11).
“It is absolutely amazing”, said an emotional Tommy Urhaug. “It is crazy. I don't have words, It is a dream come true."
Sweet dreams, Tommy Urhaug.
"I lost the first game but after that I was controlling the match”, continued Tommy Urhaug. “At the end of the first game I was getting into the rallies; he was very positive so I had to be ready for the first ball.”
The Norwegian was ready and he responded.
“I felt like I had control even if they were close games”, concluded Tommy Urhaug. “I played like I was supposed to."
Defeat for Cao Ninning but he had no complaints.
"I played average, the Norwegian guy played tactically; I should have had my own tactic but I followed him, I should have been more proactive”, said Cao Nining.”We have played many times; it is generally even, about 50-50."
Certainly it was a very close contest; as Tommy Urhaug approached victory, Norwegian nerves jangled.
Happy with Performance
"On the whole I am happy with my performance”, concluded Cao Ninning. “Everyone comes here expecting gold; you just try and play every stage well and get to the next level."
Speed of Play
Cao Ninning gave his best and watching the television monitor was fact was fascinating; because the two players were in wheelchairs the camera could move close to the action; the sheer speed of the rallies was quite something to behold.
Tommy Urhaug won but Cao Ninning contributed to a fascinating contest, a great spectale.