by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Eventually after match points had been won and lost, Ge Yang prevailed in five games against the defending champion, Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski (5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 16-14).
In the vital fifth game, Ge Yang, a left hand attacking player whose forehand top spin is his forte, somewhat in the mould of former Chinese international, Chen Qi, established a 10-8 lead.
“After each match point, I just told myself to start afresh, if I reach a match point, I can make another and another. I am confident of that. I was very sad after the defeat in London, so I have made a lot of preparations between these four years.” Ge Yang
Patryk Chojnowski, in trademark European style playing a step back from the table and in trademark Polish style using his backhand top spin strokes to good effect, won the next three points.
An opportunity, it was not converted, fighting for the cause, he saved two further match points before eventually having to succumb the ice cool Ge Yang who, on securing the match winning point, jumped on the table in celebration.
“I have lost two important matches to him, so I had no fear today playing against him, so mentally I’m in a better position. On the other hand as the defending champion Chojnowski had more to consider during the match; his style is very European which is very different from our Asian style of play.” Ge Yang
It was the only sign of joy he expressed in the whole match, throughout the whole contest the facial expression had been diffident; no doubt inside he totally focused and eventually victorious.
Reversed London decision
Success for Ge Yang meant that he reversed the decision of four years ago in London when he was beaten in the Men’s Singles Class 10 final by Patryk Chojnowski and two years ago in Beijing when losing at the 2014 World Para Championships.
Notably, in London, he experienced defeat in straight games (11-9, 11-4, 11-9); in Beijing in a lose five games duel (7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-9).
“In London and in 2014 at the World Championships I have not paid enough attention to this fact; this time, I adjusted my preparations to be more focused on playing against the European style, in terms of the serve, the spin and the return.” Ge Yang
Furthermore, it meant he won a Paralympic Games Men’s Singles title for the second time in his career; eight years ago on home soil in Beijing he won Men’s Singles Class 9-10 beating colleague Ma Lin in the final.
Bronze for Krisztian Gardos
Victory for Ge Yang but not for his colleague, Lian Ho in the bronze medal match; also a left hander, he was beaten in three straight games by Austria’s Krisztian Gardos (11-9, 11-7, 11-4).
“I felt comfortable today playing against a left hander, I really cannot explain the reasons; today I received service well, he served long. Against Patryk Chojnowski I had little chance in the semi-finals, he was too good”, Krisztian Gardos
It is the first time that Krisztian Gardos has competed in a Paralympic Games.