by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A podium finish on the biggest stage of all; Danielle Rauen is no stranger to responding in major competitions; notably she won the Women’s Singles Class 9-10 title at the 2015 Para Pan American Games staged in Toronto, Canada.
Undoubtedly, Danielle Rauen will never forget the euphoria of Saturday 19th September 2016 in Riocentro Pavilion 3 when the precious medal was gained; equally, on duty in São Paulo, the top seed in Men’s Singles Class 6, Chile’s Matias Nicolas Pino Lorca enjoyed a most memorable year.
Like Danielle Rauen, he enjoyed success at the 2015 Para Pan American Games, he won Men’s Singles Class 6 gold but was in consecutive weeks last November that he shone.
On home soil in Santiago, he won the Men’s Singles Class 6-7 title; the following week in Buenos Aires it was a full house of three gold medals. He clinched the Junior Men’s Singles Class 6 title for players under 23 years of age, before winning Men’s Singles gold in the same category and with Osvaldo Torres Navarrette, the Men’s Team Class 6-7 title.
The result was that he was named Allianz Athlete for the month of November 2016 an award presented each month by the International Paralympic Committee; furthermore he won by a distance. He received 72 per cent of the vote; his nearest rival being snowboarder Chris Vos of the Netherlands gained 11 per cent.
Over 800 athletes aged 12 to 20 years from 19 countries are taking part in 12 sports.
In addition to table tennis, the sports on the agenda are: athletics, boccia, football five-a-side, football seven-a-side, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.