18 May 2017

The first day of play, Wednesday 16th May, concluded; the medal hopes of the top seeded outfits at the 2017 World Para Championships in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, were very much alive.

However, for one notable combination, the French pairing of Fabien Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens, gold medallists at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, there were moments of concern.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Eventually it was success but the full three matches were needed to seal the victory again a spirited Spanish duo in the guise of Iker Sastre and Miguel Angel Toledo.

Against expectations, the Spanish duo secured the doubles (13-11, 11-8, 11-5), before Fabien Lamirault beat Iker Sastre (11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5) and Stéphane Molliens overcame Miguel Angel Toledo to complete the recovery (14-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7).

“We haven’t played for eight months ever since the Paralympic Games last year, so it was difficult for Fabien and I to come up with an effective strategy for the doubles. Always, it is difficult to find the rhythm when playing the first match of the tournament. Although we lost the doubles, we were still confident in our abilities as we are strong players. I was able to play to my best ability when the overall match score was tied at on-one”, Stéphane Molliens.

Meanwhile, in the other events where the top seeds were required to compete on the opening day, it was success without the loss of an individual match.

In the Men’s events, Germany’s Thomas Brüchle and Thomas Schmidberger (Class 3) enjoyed a day without defeat, as did the Turkish combination of Abdullah Ozturk, and Suleyman Vural (Class 4).

Similarly, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih, Lin Yen-Hing (Class 5), Spain’s Alberto Seone and Alvaro Valera (Class 6) remained untroubled as did the Ukraine outfits of Maksym Nikolenko and Mykhaylo Popov (Class 7) alongside colleagues Viktor Didukh and Ivan Mai (Class 8).

Impressive performances; it was the same from Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi and Nobuyuki Suzuki (Class 9), they underlined the reasons for their top seeded spot. It was a situation that applied also to Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski and Igor Misztal (Class 10) as was the situation with the French pairing of Lucas Creange and Antoine Zhao (Class 11).

Meanwhile, in the Women’s events where the top seeds were called to order, it was a day without defeat.

Croatia’s Helena Dretar and Andela Muzinic (Class 3) asserted their authority on affairs; a situation that applied to two Russian top seeded pairings. Raisa Chebanika and Ulija Shishkina (Class 6-7) alongside Elena Prokofeva and Anzhelika Kosacheva (Class 11) ended the day without alarm as did Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre and Danielle Rauen (Class 9-10).

Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic, Nada Matic and Kristina Arancic, the top seeds in Women’s Class 4-5 have yet to start their campaign, a situation that applies to Korea’s Nam Kiwon and Cho Jaekwon in the Men’s Class 1 event.

 Day One: 2017 World Para Championships
Photos: Richard Kalocsai

2017 World Para Team Championships: Draw and Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2017 Para World Team Championships Fabien Lamirault Stéphane Molliens

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