A first ever medal of foreign soil for a delighted Masachika Inoue
Photo By: Courtesy of Silas Chiang
Eleven champions were crowned on Monday 30th April 2012, at the Korean Veterans Para Table Tennis Championships in Suwon.
Proceedings were dominated by the host nation who captured no less than seven gold medals; Japan was next on the list with two gold medals, whilst Germany and Hong Kong captured on each.
However, at the medal ceremony, the focus of attention was on one player in particular, 16 year old Masachika Inoue from Japan. He won the bronze medal in the Menís Singles Class 8 event.
It was for the baby faced Masachika Inoue his debut in overseas competitions.
He first took part in the Asian Youth Para Games in 2009 in Tokyo, when he was only 13 years old and has made remarkable progress.
Second Place in Group
In Suwon, he finished in second place in his group and thus qualified for the main draw; the man to beat in in the initial stage was Koreaís 34 year old Lee Cheon Sik, a far more experienced player.
However, the five games defeat (10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9) was arguably closer than the overall score line may even.
Later he experienced a semi-final defeat, thus the highest finish on offer was the bronze medal.
He duly achieved the goal beating Indonesiaís Leonardo Aritonang in the crucial match in three straight games.
Thus he won his first medal in international competition outside Japan; he held the precious possession close to his heart at ceremony.
Among the 11 players from Japan, two are under 20 years old, including Masachika Inoue and five are under 30 years of age.
They are all young when compared to the norm of players in Para Table Tennis; no doubt they will become major contenders for honours in the years to come.
However, there was one very senior player present or so it seemed.
Also from Japan, the date of birth read Sunday 27th October 1901!
Incredibly the man in question was 111 years old!
Unbelievable, the passport of the player was later verified.
It was a computer error. The actual date of birth is Tuesday 3rd September 1986. Oh for the days when a micro chip was a small potato you enjoyed with a piece of fish!
All Singles events concluded on Monday 30th April 2013, the Team events commence on Tuesday 1st May and finish on Thursday 3rd May.
Masachika Inoue (right) confronts colleague Yasuyuki Hamano (left) in Suwon
Photos courtesy of Silas Chiang
Korean Veterans Para Table Tennis Championships: Medallists in Individual Events