Paul Drinkhall at top speed in the ExCeL Arena
Photo By: Samir Abu Yousef
2012 Olympic Games (Click here to access this section)
The Union Jack flew high and the crowd rejoiced, as Great Britainís representatives in the Menís and Womenís Singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games, both recorded first round wins on the afternoon of Saturday 28th July in the splendours of the ExCeL Arena.
Both were under pressure and both responded; both faced lower ranked players, both faced players they were expected to beat, both delivered and in style. Straight games victories were the order of the day for the leaders of Team GB.
Joanna Parker overcame Brazilís Caroline Kumahara (11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9); just over one hour later, Paul Drinkhall defeated Kuwaitís Ibrahem Alhasan (11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4).
No Birthday Presents
It was not to be a belated birthday present for Caroline Kumahara, who one day earlier had celebrated her 17th birthday; the style of Joanna Parker was somewhat alien.
Joanna Parker is a defensive player, in Latin America there are no female defensive players of note; it is a style of play that Caroline Kumahara rarely faces.
Under the guidance of Alan Cooke, the former England international who played in both the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games, Joanna Parker changed the degrees of backspin on her strokes to force errors from the Brazilian teenager.
Furthermore, as the contest progressed, Joanna Parker seized the opportunity to attack and duly imposed her authority on proceedings.
Four Years Hence
It was a harsh lesson for the splendid Caroline Kumahara who four years ago was battling in Under 13 and Cadet events.
One wonders four years hence when Caroline Kumahara is 21 years old and she is on duty in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic Games with a passionate crowd in support; what might she achieve.
She has made outstanding progress in the past four years; if that level of progress is maintained then Rio de Janeiro in 2016 could well be her stage.
Speed and Power
Meanwhile, Paul Drinkhall came out all guns blazing against Ibrahem Alhasan; it was as though he was in a rush to catch the last train to leave Custom House, the station for the ExCeL Arena on the Docklands Light Railway.
It was his speed, power and his slight superiority over the table, the short touch returns, that took him to victory; added to the fact that he won the vital points in the first three games.
First Three Games
The minimum two point margin was the deciding factor; by the time the fourth game had arrived he was moved faster than the train on the Docklands Light Railway.
Ibrahem Alhasan had to take the passive role.
Paul Drinkhall and girlfriend Joanna Parker had booked tickets to round two, not a game surrendered; first class tickets and with some 4,000 fans applauding every move who knows was surprises they may cause.
On the opening day it was Rule Britannia; Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker ruled the waves.