by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for the 28 year old born in Xuzhou meant that he collected his second career Paralympic gold but his first when alone.
Team success in London
Four years ago in London, partnering Zhang Yan, he secured gold in Men’s Team Class 4-5; in the ExCeL Exhibition Centre it was a special occasion, arguably it was more special in Rio de Janeiro.
It was a fact that became abundantly clear as he moved courtside and the magnitude of the occasion struck home; for some two minutes his head was buried in his towel, overcome with emotion.
“I’m very excited now but I need to keep that excitement in control as I still have to get ready for the team event later. Baus is the 2014 World Champion, very young and aggressive, so I was very well prepared against him. My advantage is that this is my second Paralympic Games and this is his first, so I’m more experienced in comparison. Even though I lost the final in 2012, at least I know what kind of atmosphere and feel to expect in the final.” Cao Ningning
Simply, the dream had been realised; the disappointment of four years when experiencing defeat in the final had been eradicated.
Disappointment for Tommy Urhaug
In London he had lost to Norway’s Tommy Urhuag; in Rio de Janeiro it was for the Norwegian the feeling of pain that Cao Ningning had experienced in London.
The 36 year old from Bergen was beaten in the bronze medal match by Serbia’s Mitar Palikuca (4-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-9). It was the first ever Paralympic medal of any olour for the now 41 year old.