15 Sep 2016

Beaten at the quarter-final stage of Men’s Singles Class 2 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by Martin Ludrovsky earlier in the proceedings, Kim Kyungmook gained his revenge on the early afternoon of Thursday 15th September.

He emerged as the hero of the hour as Korea beat the Slovak Republic by two matches to one in a marathon Men’s Team Class 1-2 semi-final duel, the contest being timed at one hour and one minute.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the engagement that brought matters to a conclusion, he saved one match point against Jan Riapos in the fourth game, before emerging successful to send his colleagues into unbridled delight (7-11, 11-8, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8).

Satisfaction at having guided Korea to the final but there was an extra degree of satisfaction; at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, he had been beaten by Jan Riapos in the Men’s Singles Class 2 final.

Focused

“I was very focused today against Jan Riapos; we have a good team spirit, my colleagues gave me great support”, said Kim Kyungmook. “My backhand was strong today; my backhand service with backspin, in particular, caused him problems.”

Success for Kim Kyungmook; in the opening match of the contest he had also enjoyed success; he partnered Cha Seoyong to success against Martin Ludrovsky and Jan Riapos (10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12).

Alas for Martin Ludrovsky defeat but he was to prove the one winner for the Slovak Republic; in the second match of the engagement, he overcame Cha Sooyong (11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-6, 11-7).

France imposes authority

Success by narrow margins for Korea; for France life was less tense. The partnership of Fabien Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens overcame the Brazilian combination of Iranildo Espindola and Guilherme Mariao de Costa by two matches to nil.

The French pair recorded a straight games doubles win (11-9, 11-4, 11-5) to set the standard before Fabien Lamirault defeated Iranildo Espindola to conclude matters (11-2, 13-11, 11-6).

Tradition

“We have a tradition of success in this event”, explained Christophe Durand, the coach sitting courtside, who won Men’s Singles Class 5 gold in Sydney in 2000 and the Men’s Singles Class 4-5 title eight years later in Beijing.

“Fabien and Stéphane never lose; they have the technique and the experience”, concluded Christophe Durand.

Confident

Furthermore, the French duo is full of self-belief.

“Before the match we were confident”, said Fabien Lamirault. “We are the best in the world.”

Final and bronze medal

The final and bronze medal contests are scheduled for 4.30pm on Saturday 17th September.

Paralympics Jan Riapos Stéphane Molliens Iranildo Espindola Martin Ludrovsky Guilherme Marcio da Costa ha Seoyong Kim Kyungmook Christohe Durand