by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Both Paralympic Games gold medallists; also they are of similar in age. Feng Panfeng is 27 years old, Cao Ningning is two years the senior.
Furthermore, both are from Pizhou, an area which suffered from a major polio outbreak some 30 years, both now reside in nearby Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province.
Competing as always in Men’s Class 3, Feng Panfeng secured first place in his group; he accounted for Korea’s Baek Youngbok (11-6, 11-5, 11-8) and Japan’s Shinichi Yoshida (11-1, 11-3, 11-7).
“I took up sport for the disabled for over ten years. Today I had two matches. I don’t think I’m better than other players. I prepared today just as do in my normal practice; knowing the style of your opponents before you play is important. Taking into account the Korean and Japanese athletes for example, both of them are consistent and have their own strong points.” Feng Panfeng
Likewise, in a similar vein, it was top spot for Cao Ningning in Men’s Class 5. He overcame Macao’s Cheong Lam Sam (11-4, 11-3, 11-3) and Japan’s Kentaro Doi (11-6, 11-7, 11-3).
“In recent years, other countries have attached greater importance to the table tennis training and we have seen players becoming more and more skillful. For example, Japan is showing a great ambition to overcome Chinese dominance in international table tennis. As for myself, I’ve taken part in several international competitions. I won gold medal in the Men’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Here, I will just maintain a normal state of mind in the competition in the following days.” Cao Ningning
A successful start for Feng Panfeng and Cao Ninging, the top seeds in their respective categories; with one exception it was the same scenario for the remaining leading names. The exception was in Women’s Singles Class 10 when Chinese Taipei’s Tian Shiau-Wei experienced defeat at the hands of China’s Zhao Xiaojing (11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9).
In the Men’s Singles events, in addition to Feng Panfeng and Cao Ningning, it was a successful day for Chinese colleagues Yan Shuo (Class 7), Zhao Shuai (Class 8), Zhao Yiqing (Class 9) and Lian Ho (Class 10).
Similarly, their leading female compatriots enjoyed a day without defeat. Xue Juan (Class 1-3), Zhou Ying (Class 4), Mao Jingdian (Class 8) and Xiong Guiyan (Class 9) all justified their top seeded positions as did their neighbour from Hong Kong, Ng Miu Wei (Class 11).
Meanwhile, Korea made its presence felt. In the Men’s Singles events, occupying the top seeded positions, unbeaten performances were secured by Joo Youngdae (Class 1), Cha Sooyong (Class 2), Kim Youngun (Class 4), Park Hongkyu (Class 6) and Kim Gitae (Class 11).
Similarly, for the leading Korean women, it was a day without blemish for leading names. Jung Younga (Class 5) and Kim Seongok (Class 6-7) underlined the reasons why they are the leading names in their respective categories.
2017 Asian Para Championships: Future Matches and Results