08 Sep 2016

Earlier in the day, on Thursday 8th September at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the host nation’s Danielle Rauen had caused a major upset in Women’s Singles Class 9 by beating China’s Xiong Guiyan, the no.2 seed.

Also, Great Britain’s Rob Davies, the top seed in Men’s Singles Class 1 had withstood a brave recovery by Switzerland’s Sylvio Keller, to make the ideal start to his campaign.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Later in the day the efforts of Danielle Rauen were exceeded but for a second British top seed, the challenge could not be withstood.

Four games win

In the Men’s Singles Class 8, Israel Stroh, the 12th highest listed player in the competition, accounted for Will Bayley, the top seed and reigning World champion; the 30 year old emerged successful in four games (10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

“It’s the first time that I have played him”, said Israel Stroh, who had been supported to the hilt by the passionate Brazilian supporters; just as they had raised the spirits of Danielle Rauen, they day the same for Israel Stroh.

Could not lose

“You have to use such support to your advantage, for sure the crowd lifted me; with that level of support I couldn’t lose”, smiled Israel Stroh. “I felt I must win with all those people behind me!”

Win he did and Riocentro Pavilion 3 erupted as the 30 year old from Santos moved into the middle of the court to milk the applause.

Good movement

“Will has good movement; he is good if you play long, good if you play short”, added Israel Stroh. “It was a case of trying to make him uncomfortable, trying to find openings; trying to play my very best and take my chances.”

After some problems with both players being faulted on their service, Israel Stroh seized the upper hand.

“I think the problem was to some extent because of the disability; Will was very fair”, continued Israel Stroh. “Losing points by being faulted when serving did make me unsure and nervous.”

Maintained focus

Nevertheless with Paulo Camargo sitting courtside, as he had been for Danielle Rauen, Israel Stroh maintained his focus to emerge successful.

“He made many changes with his services”, concluded Israel Stroh. “For me it was better in the match to try to win the points quickly, he was good in the rallies, creating angles.”

Door still open

Defeat for Will Bayley but the door is not closed; players finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the main draw.

On the second day of action, for both players, China’s Liao Keli awaits.


Paralympics Will Bayley Israel Stroh