31 Aug 2018

The winner just under one year ago in Lasko when crowned European champion, Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger emerged the player to attract the attention on the second day of action, Friday 31st August, at the 2018 China Para Open in Beijing.

He beat one of the most successful, if not the most successful in the sport of table tennis.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Occupying the second seeded position in Men’s Singles Class 3, the 26 year old from Zweisel accounted for the host nation’s Feng Panfeng, the top seed (11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 4-11, 11-4) to secure first prize.

Defeat for the defending champion, the most recent edition of the event being in 2016; also Feng Panfeng has become “Mr Invincible”. Amongst a host of other titles, he has won gold at the three most recent Paralympic Games, succeeding in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro. Furthermore, he has been the winner at every Asian Para Championships held biennially since 2013, when the name was changed from that of the Asian and Oceanic Championships.

An outstanding performance; in the Men’s Singles wheelchair categories it was the same from Poland’s Rafal Lis.

Competing in Class 4, the no.3 seed, he secured the title at the final expense of China’s Shi Yanping (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 13-11), having en route upset the pecking order. At the quarter-final stage he beat Zhang Yuan, like Shi Yanping from China and the no.2 seed (10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8) prior ousting Turkey’s Nesim Turan, the top seed in the penultimate round (11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-9).

Impressively, in the opposite half of the draw, Shi Yanping, not listed amongst the seeded names, had beaten Thailand’s Wanchai Chaiwut (15-13, 12-10, 11-3) to reserve his place in the final. Notably one day earlier, Wanchai Chaiwut had overcome Zhang Yuan (8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6) to secure first place in the group. He was a player in form; it was from Shi Yanping a well merited win.

Success for Poland and there was further success for the European country; Rafal Czuper justified his top seeded position to win Class 1-2 It was a situation that applied also in Class 5; favourite for gold, the host nation’s Cao Ningning clinched the top prize.

Play in the individual events now over, the team competitions begin; play concludes on Sunday 2nd September.

2018 China Para Open: Latest Draws and Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Thomas SCHMIDBERGER