by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Prior to play commencing in Lasko, Kelly van Zon held the three major titles the sport has to offer. In addition to winning gold at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, as well as securing the European title in 2011 in Split and two years ago in Vejle; she was crowned World champion in Beijing in 2014.
A major upset but once again Kubra Korkut was to be denied the European title; the no.2 seed, she was beaten in the final by Russia’s Victoriya Safonova (12-14, 11-9, 13-11, 11-9). Two years ago in Vejle, Kubrat Korkut had been a bronze medallist, in 2011 in Split a silver medallist; just as at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, on both occasions she had been beaten by Kelly van Zon. Revenge in Lasko was sweet but not sweet enough.
Title surrendered, it was the same in Women’s Singles Class 11; an event in which Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina turned the tables of two years ago. Defeat in Vejle, it was success in Lasko; the no.2 seed, by the very narrowest of margins, she beat Russia’s Elena Prokofeva, the top seed (7-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10) to arrest the title.
Retaining a title the goal, in Class 6, also a standing category, it was a case of regaining the precious title. In the one event in the whole tournament where the defending champion, Croatia’s Sandra Paovic, was not on duty, Russia’s Raisa Chebanika, London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist, emerged victorious. She beat Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal at the final hurdle (8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4).
At the inaugural European Para Championships in Frankfurt in 2001, she had won the Class 6-7 title; four years later in Jesolo she had been crowned the Class 6 champion.
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