25 Aug 2021

Impressively and somewhat contrary to expectations, at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Laurens Devos, only 16 years old at the time, won men’s singles class 9 gold; even more impressive was the fact that he did not surrender a single game!

On Wednesday 25th August at Tokyo 2020, he continued the policy; he beat Tal Leibovitz of the United States in straight games (11-5, 11-2, 11-9)

by Ian Marshall

Notably in the third game he trailed 7-9, before winning four points in a row to close the door.

“Yeah it was a very tough match. It’s my first match here and in the beginning I was a little bit nervous because it’s a bigger hall, all is different. After the second game I was a bit more relaxed. Third game, he started to play better, he put more balls on the table. Some balls he also made changes. It was surprising, he played well in the last game.” Laurens Devos

The perfect record, for how long can such a run of success continue? When will the first game be lost?

 “I don’t know, we will see. Maybe the next match, we don’t know but I’m not thinking about this. I’m just playing my table tennis. If I lose one game, I lose one game, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to be here to win and if I think that I cannot lose a game, then I will put more pressure on me, so for sure I will not do that.” Laurens Devos

Now five years have elapsed since Laurens Devos won in Riocentro 3; certainly, he has grown!

“For sure there is more pressure on me because 2016 was my first Paralympic Games and I was 16. I just went there to enjoy, to play, see where I finish. Now I’ve a title to defend also so this puts more pressure on me. I’m 21 now so more years to practise. I think my game has also improved since Rio. I have more power. I got bigger because when I was 16, I will say I’m a little boy. Now, I’m a little bit bigger, so I have more force, more power to play. I practise every day.” Laurens Devos

A most promising start and watching him play, the signs present trends may well continue.


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