by Simon Daish
Competing in the Men’s Singles qualifying group stage Viktor Didukh was placed in Group 1 at the tournament being held in Panagyurishte, with the Ukrainian player facing Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri and Belarusian competitor Gleb Shamruk.
Unfortunately for the Para athlete back-to-back defeats resulted in an early exit from the tournament, but Didukh leaves Bulgaria with his head held high and believes that competing on the ITTF World Tour and at ITTF Challenge Series events will only benefit his game ahead of the 2020 Paralympic Games.
“For this particular event I was quite tired because I travelled by car and it was a long drive. I payed to participate in this event myself as preparation for the Para European Table Tennis Championships. I want to play on the World Tour and at Challenge events as preparation for Tokyo 2020”, Viktor Didukh.
Prior to his cancer diagnosis Viktor Didukh was a regular competitor on the ITTF World Tour as an able bodied athlete and so it was fantastic to see the Para star in action at the 2017 ITTF World Tour event in Panagyurishte competing against able bodied players once again.
Winning the Men’s Singles Class 8 competition at the 2014 World Para Table Tennis Championships was a great achievement for Viktor Didukh, and last year at the Paralympic Games there was a further reason for the player to celebrate as he finished on the top step of the medals podium in the Men’s Team Class 6-8 with his elder brother Oleksandr acting as coach for the Ukrainian team.
Viktor Didukh now has his eyes firmly set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where he is hoping to win a singles gold medal, but is well aware of the challenges that await him on his quest for more Paralympic glory.
“My biggest goal is Tokyo 2020. I aim for a gold medal in the Singles event because I lost out at Rio 2016, but I need to prepare better because the level in Para table tennis is getting higher and higher. Another goal is to win the Singles gold at the Para European Championships, so that I can defend my title, which I have won two times before. Again I need to prepare better because there are younger players who are faster than me”, Viktor Didukh.
The Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open commences on Thursday 17th August.