by Ian Marshall, Editor
At the final hurdle Thorsten Boomhuis and Holger Teppe accounted for Nevin Kumar and Ilya Rozenblat of the United States (11-9, 6-11, 11-5), Asako Katagiri and Yurie Kato beat the combination of Croatia’s Vlatka Dragia and Denmark’s Elisabeth Ilbal (11-8, 7-11, 11-8).
Success and it was success in a quite unique atmosphere, there is feeling of unity and delight at the tournament actually being staged; it is combined with the competitive desire to be world champion.
“I don’t think I have ever been so calm before a final; Holger was there, I could play with control. Playing here is a great motivation; since playing table tennis my movement is now much better and I’m on a low medication.” Thorsten Boomhuis
However, in Westchester the focus was directed towards competition; more certainly Holger Teppe no mean player.
“We both had good focus today, even though it was one game each I was confident that we could win; however, I must say we had strong opponents in the final.” Holger Teppe
Strong opponents and opponents who most certainly merited the greatest respect; Navin Kumar has a mechanical valve in his heart to keep him alive. Significantly he is a member of the United States Table Tennis Paralympic Programme.
“It feels really good to be here, the medal is a bonus, I’ve been promoting Parkinson’s table tennis for six years; I had the mechanical heart since I was 19 years old, I started playing table tennis when I was four years old, the condition for me is now just normal. I want to see Parkinson’s included in the Paralympic Games.” Nevin Kumar
Likewise Ilya Rozenblat was not too disappointed at second place.
“It was pretty good today, we did not expect to reach the final, we made some mistakes. It’s a ground breaking tournament, a privilege to play. I hope we can see this tournament every year; two years is too long, a person’s health can deteriorate so much.” Holger Teppe
Meanwhile, for Asako Katagiri and Yurie Kato the long journey was vindicated.
“We are very pleased to win gold but more importantly it’s about being able to play in a World Championships; it’s a great experience. Ping Pong Parkinson’s combines mind and body together. I’m a little surprised we won.” Yurie Kato
Certainly, Asako Katagiri and Yurie Kato proved a partnership in harmony even though they live miles apart, Yurie is from Nigata, Asako from Chiba.
“We had very little opportunity to practise together. Now we are really good friends.” Asako Katagiri
Success for Asako Katagiri and Yurie Kato but the overriding feeling is one of participation.
“I am really excited to play here; I must admit I was nervous before the final.” Vlatka Dragia
Significantly both Vlatka Dragia and Elisabeth Ilbal played table tennis before contracting Parkinson’s and are returning to the sport; not only are they returning they are actively promoting the concept.
“I run Curey Parkinson’s, it’s a club we organise for people with Parkinson’s; no Parkinson’s no entry! In addition to table tennis we have boxing , fitness sessions and cycling. We have some 16 table tennis players.” Elisabeth Ilbal
Doubles concluded, attention now turns to the singles events, play concludes in Westchester on Sunday 13th October.