11 Sep 2016

Top seed, the gold medallist four years ago in London, Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands duly completed her first stage group matches in Women’s Singles Class 7 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on the morning of Saturday 10th September without defeat and thus in first position in her group.

The initial hurdle in her title retention quest had been completed successfully.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Prior to proceedings commencing on the third day of play in Rioccentro Pavilion 3, she had emerged successful in four games contests against Argentina’s Giselle Muñoz (11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6) and Turkey’s Kubya Karkut (12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10).

On the third morning of action, rather more comfortably, she overcame Egypt’s Faiza Mahmoud (11-4, 13-11, 11-2).

No weak players

“Yes, pleased to have won my group and I know I’m the top seed but I don’t feel like the number one player”, said Kelly van Zon. “There are no weak players here, you must be focused for every match; you cannot relax your concentration for one second.”

Most certainly it was a focused Kelly van Zon who entered the arena against Faiza Mahmoud.

Mentally strong

“Mentally today I felt good and overall I feel I am playing well but not to the best of my ability; I think I can play better”, added Kelly van Zon. “The toughest match was against Kubra Korkut from Turkey, we know each other well, it was a real fight.”

A fight and it produced not one of the remarkable points of the tournament to date; it produce the most remarkable point; Kelly van Zon produced flying forehand, an effort to match Great Britain’s David Wetherill four years ago at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“That one point, my friends have constantly contacting me having seen it on YouTube; I have watched it several times”, explained Kelly van Zon. “I had moved around my backhand and left my forehand wide open, I just flung myself at the ball, it went on the table but it was sheer luck!”

Sheer luck or not, it reflected the sheer determination of the defending champion.

Qualification for main draw

First place in the group for Kelly van Zon, it was second spot for Kubra Korkut; in the corresponding group, top place was secured by Korea’s Kim Seongok, runners up place was clinched by Canada’s Stephanie Chan.

Paralympics kelly van Zon Kubra Korkut