16 Dec 2017

Luck didn’t best accompany the Netherlands team in their journey coming to Las Vegas for the 2017 United States Para Open.

Instead of a normal ten hour flight from their home country, this team went through multiple issues with their flight. It took them the total of three days before finally landing in Vegas.

by Tina Huynh

According to coach Lumen Dekker, the Netherlands team was to leave at 6.35am on Monday 11th December, two days before the tournament. However, owing to severe snow in the area, the flight was cancelled last minute.

“In the Netherlands, there is often freezing weather and snow; when there is a lot of snow, there’s always problems.” Lumen Dekker

Lumen Dekker explained he called British Airways many times to ask whether there were an outward bound flight on the same day. he went through several answering machines and waited for at least two hours before gaining a reply.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that the team could board the plane leaving Amsterdam for Philadelphia, the stop before transferring to Las Vegas; this flight was also delayed for more than two hours.

Moreover, the American Airlines aircraft carrying the team encountered an unexpected shortage of fuel, which forced it to stop in Canada for to refill.

“They said it would take twenty minutes but there was a change of pilot and some more issues, so we were there for two and a half hours; by the time we got to Philly, the plane to Vegas had already left.” Lumen Dekker

It was the last flight leaving Philadelphia for Las Vegas, so the team was given vouchers from the airline to stay overnight and wait for the first flight on Wednesday morning. If everything went right with the plan, they would arrive in Las Vegas at 9.00am on Wednesday morning.

Exactly when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, the aircraft stopped all of a sudden when accelerating for take-off.

“The plane was speeding on the runway and it hit the brakes suddenly. We were all like “what happened?” the attendant announced that there were technical problems. They had to take the plane all the way back to maintenance. We waited two hours before we finally left Philly.” Lumen Dekker

After a very long and tiring journey, the Netherlands team finally arrived in Las Vegas around 2.00pm on Wednesday and went straight to the venue from the airport.

“Last year we were here two days early, so we got some rest and adjusted before playing; this year we didn’t have that. However, we’re very happy that most teams co-operated, so we could play despite the delay.” Lumen Dekker

Even though they encountered difficult situations on the way, losing ranking points as they defaulted from some of the early matches, the Netherlands team achieved success
In the individual events, Jean-Paul Montanus won Men’s Singles Class 7, Kelly van Zon secured the Women’s Singles Class 7 title.

2017 United States Para Open: Latest Results and Forthcoming Matches

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2017 United States Para Open