01 Oct 2017

Winners two years earlier when the tournament was staged in the Danish town of Vejle; Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva, Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlqhuist and Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic duly retained their titles in the Women’s Singles wheelchair categories at the 2017 European Para Championships in Lasko, Slovenia on Saturday 30th September.

However, all three had to endure testing times en route to gold.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Nadejda Pushpasheva, the no.2 seed, needed the full five games to overcome Poland’s Dorota Bucklow (11-9, 13-15, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9), having accounted for Isabelle Lafaye of France in four games one round earlier (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Notably, Dorota Bucklow was very much a player in form; in the penultimate round she had beaten Italy’s Giada Rossi, the top seed (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7).

A successful title defence for Nadejda Pushpasheva, in fact it was three in a row; in 2013 she had won in the Italian Adriatic resort of Lignano.

Three in succession for Nadejda Pushpasheva, for Anna-Carin Ahlquist, it was a fourth consecutive victory in Class 3; the unbeaten run starting in Split in 2011. The top seed and London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist; after having accounted for Turkey’s Hatice Duman in the semi-finals in three straight games (11-5, 11-6, 11-6), she needed to recover from an opening game deficit to beat Croatia’s Andela Muzinic to secure the top prize (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7).

Unquestionably the successes of Nadejda Pushpasheva and Anna-Carin Ahlquist are most impressive but neither can match Borislava Peric-Rankovic. Gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, she made it five European Women’s Singles titles without a break and she has a special liking for Slovenia.

She won her first in 2007 in Kranjska Gora when she claimed the Class 4 title; she repeated the success in 2009 in Genoa prior to two years later winning Class 4-5 gold in Lignano and retaining the title in 2015 in Vejle.

In Lasko, the top seed, she overcame Great Britain’s Sue Gilroy at the semi-final stage (11-7, 11-6, 11-4), prior to beating Germany Sandra Mikolaschek, the no.2 seed, in the final (11-7, 11-4, 15-17, 11-9).

“I’m really disappointed with how I played against Peric. Normally I give her a really good game and unfortunately I didn’t do that today. I’ve been out for the last three months after having surgery on my arm and I’ve only been back playing for six weeks so I didn’t expect to get a medal. It is brilliant to get a bronze. Fingers crossed I can turn it round in the team event and play to the standard I know I can play.” Sue Gilroy

Success against Sandra Mikolaschek and Serbian revenge; in corresponding penultimate round duel, Sandra Mikolaschek had beaten colleague Nada Matic, the player with whom Borislava Peric-Rankovic had won silver in Women’s Team Class 4-5 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Play in the individual events over, attention now turns to the team competitions.

2017 European Para Championships: Forthcoming matches and latest results

2017 European Championships: Latest News

2017 European Championships: Daily Bulletin

2017 European Championships: Live Stream

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2017 European Para Championships Borislava Peric-Rankovic Anna-Carin Ahlqhuist Nadejda Pushpasheva

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