08 Sep 2016

Gold medallist in Women’s Singles Class 9-10 at the 2015 Para Pan American Games in the Canadian city of Markham, part of the Greater Toronto area; the host nation’s Danielle Rauen was the player to cause the biggest upset in the opening session of play at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

On the late morning of Thursday 8th September, competing in Women’s Singles Class 9, she recovered from the precipice of defeat to beat China’s Xiong Guiyan, the no.2 seed, in five games (5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The 18 year old from São Bento du Sul who is now resident in Piriciaba, was lifted to a new level by her adoring supporters who craved a home win against the odds.

She sent the Brazilian crowd into raptures of delirium.

World ranking

Success contrary to expectations; as her seeding suggested, Xiong Guiyan is presently listed at no.2 on the Women’s Class 9 World Rankings; Danielle Rauen is at no.8.

“It’s the first time I have played her but I felt quite confident before the match; we have all worked so hard to get here”, said Danielle Rauen. “It was just tremendous when I entered the arena, I saw my family in the tiered seating and the crowd; everyone was rooting for me.”

Motivated by the crowd but whatever support you receive, you must perform; the Brazilian teenager performed; she repaid the faithful but after losing the first two games she gave her supporters moments of trepidation.

Solution found

However, with Paulo Camargo sitting courtside in the coaching role, a solution was found to secure victory against a player with a style to which Danielle Rauen is not accustomed. Xiong Guiyan is a right handed pen-hold grip player.

“She had very good feeling for the ball; it was really hard for me to play against her style”, explained Danielle Rauen.

Play long

Playing over the table, near the net, Xiong Guiyan, the 2013 Asian champion, was very adept but when it came to the rallies, Danielle Rauen was arguably the stronger player.

“Her services were good and it was difficult when she played out wide to my forehand”, added Danielle Rauen. “I focused my tactics on playing long as often as possible; all came good, I’m so happy.”

Four players in each of two groups in Women’s Singles Class 9, with players finishing first and second in each group advancing to the semi-finals, the door to stage two became wide open

Paralympics Danielle Rauen Xiong Guiyan