14 Sep 2016

A contest worthy of deciding a medal; in the opening round of Men’s Team Class 9-10 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Austria faced the Netherlands on the morning of Wednesday 14th September.

The experienced Austrian combination of Stanislaw Fraczyk and Krisztian Gardos, both players who have played at high level in able bodied competition, faced the Netherlands duo comprising Bas Hegerlink and Gerban Last.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A full distance three match duel was the end result with the Gerban Last the man of the moment, as he guided the order of orange to victory.

He beat Stansilaw Fraczyk in the concluding contest of the engagement (11-6, 11-6, 11-6), after the opening two contests had witnessed tense full distance contests.

Two points decided

The Netherlands duo secured the doubles in a contest that could not possibly have been closer, every game was decided by the minimal two point margin (12-10, 10-12, 14-12, 12-14, 11-9).

Hard fought but an ideal start for the Netherlands and it appeared they were en route to cementing victory in the very next match; Bas Hegerlink led Krisztian Gardos by two games to nil but was unable to capitalise, the Austrian recovered to secure a five games success (7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3).

Up and down

“The doubles was up and down, I think in three games we led 10-7”, said Gerben Last. “Stanislaw Fraczyk was nowhere near the player he once was; today he could hardly move, play the ball wide and virtually I was always going to win the point.”

 Stanislaw Fraczyk, now approaching his 64th birthday, appeared in considerable discomfort; experience could not overcome physical restriction.

Tough draw

“It was a tough draw”, added Lumar Dekker, the national coach who had guided his charges to victory and was very much of the same view as Gerben Last.

“The first two matches were up and down and you must keep in mind that they arean experienced team”, added Lumar Dekker. “Stanislaw Fraczyk was not fit and well and I had another advantage, I’m younger than him!”

Gerben Last the mainstay of victory, is 30 years old.

Nerves

“I think we were a little nervous before the match”, said Bas Hegerlink. “Against Krisztian Gardos I was two-nil up and ahead 9-8 in the third.”

Wins for Great Britain and Czech Republic

Success in the opening round for the Netherlands in Men’s Team Class 9-10; it was the same for the Czech Republic and Great Britain but in less dramatic circumstances.

The Czech Republic with Daniel Horhut and Ivan Karabec on duty beat the Egyptian duo of Youssef Sayed and Abdelrahman Ahmed by two matches to nil; by the same margin, the Great Britain partnership of Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey-Thompson overcame Italy’s Raimondo Alecci and Mohamed Amine Kalem.

Paralympics Krisztian Gardos Gerben LAST Stanislaw Fraczyk Bas Hegerlink