01 Oct 2017

Winner earlier in the year in both El Prat de Llobregat and Bayreuth, Ireland’s Colin Judge defied the odds and to win the Men’s Class 2 title at the 2017 European Para Championships in Lasko, Slovenia on Saturday 30th September.

Not seeded, even more remarkable was the fact that in the group stage of proceedings two days earlier, he had lost his very first match of the tournament; he had been beaten by Serbia’s Boris Stoiljkovic (2-11, 11-9, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

It was to be the 22 year olds only defeat; notably in his concluding initial stage contest he overcame Frenchman, Stéphane Molliens, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-9, 12-10), a win that on games ratio secured first place in the group.

A place in the main draw confirmed, he accounted for Russia’s Rasul Nazirov (11-6, 11-4, 11-3), before causing Slovakia pain to reach the final. He accounted for Jan Riapos, the London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist and no.3 seed (11-5, 11-9, 13-11) in addition to Martin Ludrovsky (11-4, 11-9, 11-8). The latter was very much a player in form; one round earlier he had beaten Frenchman, Fabien Lamirault, the top seed and defending champion (11-4, 11-9, 11-8).

Outstanding form, the form continued in the title deciding contest; impressively, the Irishman beat Poland’s Rafal Czuper, the no.3 seed (11-3, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8) to secure the top prize.

“I still can’t believe that I did it. I was beaten by Serbian player Boris Stojilkovic. What happened then? I think I just relaxed and slowly but persistently progressed from game to game.” Colin Judge.

Success for Colin Judge against expectations, in Class 4 it was the same for Frenchman Maxime Thomas but to a much lesser extent. The defending champion and also the winner in 2011 in Split but in Lasko, the no.2 seed, he accounted for Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk, the top seed, to claim the top prize (11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).

Victory for Maxime Thomas and an air of revenge; in the European final in 2013 in Lignano, he had been beaten by Ali Ozturk.

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