25 Aug 2021

Brimful of energy, not slow to show his feelings, the host nation’s Takashi Asano responded to the occasion on the evening of Wednesday 25th August at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to cause one of the opening day’s biggest surprises.

by Ian Marshall

Competing in men’s singles class 11, he accounted for Australia’s Samuel von Einem, the Rio 2016 silver medallist, in a tension packed four games contest (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6).

Strong from the backhand, Takashi Asano made a most positive start, in the opening game he established a 7-2 lead but then lost the next nine points!

One wondered if the recovery would provide a major confidence boost for the Australian; in fact, it was Takashi Asano who performed the fight back. Matching compatriot Tomokazu Harimoto on the decibel scale, he secured the next four games.

“I want to win gold; my opponent today was strong; I played from the heart. After losing the first game I played harder and harder.” Takashi Asano

Defeat for Samuel von Einem, there was a close call for Hungary’s Peter Palos, the player who had won men’s singles class 11 gold in London; he was required to recover from an opening game deficit in opposition to Korea Republic’s Kim Changgi (7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7).

Somewhat similarly, as the day came to a close, there were testing contests for Great Britain’s Will Bayley and Brazil’s Israel Stroh, the respective gold and silver medallists in men’s singles class 8 in Rio de Janeiro.

Will Bayley eventually overcame Poland’s Maksym Chudziki (13-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8); in an even closer contest, Israel Stroh accounted for Japan’s Masachika Inoue (13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9), a contest in which he led 10-5 in the deciding game.

“I’m really happy. Obviously it has been a massive build-up to the tournament, and I did feel the nerves before my match. Even though this is my fourth Paralympics, I still felt just as nervous because it means so much to me. I’ve trained so hard for this – just like my Polish opponent who was brilliant. So I’m pleased to get through the match and on to the next one now.


Experience is massive because I’ve played four tournaments as big as this and I just felt that I had that experience and he was maybe lacking a little bit of that, but he has got the ability so I just tried to use all my experience to get me through. I’ve trained probably harder for this competition than for any other Paralympics.  I don’t think I could have trained any harder. I’ve prepared unbelievably hard physically for this tournament so I know that if it goes to five sets I’m ready.


I haven’t played a match for two years and it’s what we train so hard for; we train every day in the hall and we live for these moments to compete for GB so I feel like I’ve played my way in now. I was inspired earlier by great performances by Ross (Wilson) and Aaron (McKibbin) and the other GB players who played really well. That gave me a bit of motivation to come here this evening and get the win and that’s what I did so I’m pleased about that.” Will Bayley

 Play in the initial group stage continues on Thursday 26th August.



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