by Ian Marshall, Editor
Safely through the initial group phase, he accounted for compatriot Caleb Crowden (11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6) and Fiji’s Iakoba Taberanibou (9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8) to secure the top prize. In the opposite half of the draw, in the penultimate round, Iakoba Taberanibou had ended the hopes of Tonga’s Siaosi Vaka (11-4, 11-3, 11-8).
Defeats for Caleb Crowden and Iakoba Taberanibou but it was more Oceania medals to their names; in 2017, competing in class 4-5, Caleb Crowden had emerged the gold medallist, Iakoba Taberanibou the silver medallist.
Title retained; in the women’s singles events it was titles regained, as Australia completed a clean sweep.
Lisa di Toro won Class 2-5, having been a bronze medallist in the same category in 2017 and the winner in 2015 in Class 3-5; in the Darwin final she accounted for Fiji’s Merewalesi Vakacegu Roden (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6), the player who four years ago had also been the silver medallist and two years ago the winner.
At the semi-final stage, Lisa di Toro had beaten Fiji’s Akanisi Latu (11-5, 11-2, 11-2), Merewalesi Vakacegu Roden had ended the hopes of Australia’s Amanda Tscharke (11-9, 5-11, 14-12, 11-3) the 2017 runner up.
Likewise, Melissa Tapper regained the class 6-10 title, as in 2013 and 2015 overcoming colleague Andrea McDonnell in the final (11-1, 12-10, 11-4). Earlier in all Australian semi-finals, Melissa Tapper had beaten Christine Wolf (11-1, 11-2, 11-4), Andrea McDonnel had overcome Rebecca Julian, the class 6-8 winner two years earlier in Suva.
Familiar names wearing gold medals; in men’s singles class 6-10, a new champion was crowned, an event in which the host nation reserved all three steps of the podium. Silver medallist in the same category in 2015, Joel Coughlan climbed one step higher.
Following success against Jake Ballestrino, also from Australia (11-9, 11-5, 11-9), Joel Coughlan accounted for Trevor Hirth, the no.2 seed (11-3, 11-2, 11-3) and Nathan Pellissier, the top seed (11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6) to secure the title. In the opposite half of the draw, Nathan Pellisier had booked his place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Connor Holdback (11-2, 14-12, 11-8).
Alas for Jake Ballestrino there was to no repeat of Suva when, in class 6-7, he had finished in second place behind Trevor Hirth in a group organised event. Meanwhile, for Trevor Hirth it was déjà vu; in 2015 he had been beaten by Joel Coughlan in the class 6-10 semi-final.
Matters concluded in Darwin, the next tournament on the para calendar is Thermana Lasko Slovenia Open staged from Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th May.
Para Oceania Championships 2019: Complete Results