26 Aug 2021

A fighting spirit, there is no player on planet earth who possesses that quality to a greater degree than Chile’s Cristian Dettoni; on the early afternoon of Thursday 26th August at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games he demonstrated that fact to the full.

The 46 year old from Santiago, caused one of the biggest upsets to date at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

by Ian Marshall

Sheer unabated willpower and determination combined with no shortage of skill and tactical know-how, competing in men’s singles class 6, he beat Spain’s Alvaro Valera, the top seed, the player who for over a decade commencing in class 7 has been listed at the top of the World rankings.

Furthermore, the fact that the 38 year old from Madrid uses long pimpled rubber on the backhand, his major playing strength, makes him a most difficult opponent.

The odds stacked against the Chilean and there was one more factor; Alvaro Valera had won all six previous meetings!

Totally focused, Cristian Dettoni emerged successful in three hard fought games (12-10, 11-8, 11-7).

“It means everything to me, always it has been my dream to win against the number one in the world, I’m so happy. Most important was that I kept my concentration and didn’t let my level of play drop.” Cristian Dettoni

Quite simply, Cristian Dettoni found the answers, but did he have a tactical weapon being a left handed pen-holder against a right handed shake hands grip player, for whom sideways movement was most difficult?

“I’m not sure the fact I’m a pen-holder made a great deal of difference. More  important was that I played the first attacking stroke.” Cristian Dettoni.

Success for Cristian Dettoni who celebrated in style, the deep throated roar of victory almost caused the mandatory face masks to be replaced by ear plugs!

Sheer delight for Cristian Dettoni but also pay great credit to Alvaro Valera in defeat; disappointed by he left the arena in a dignified manner, a credit to country and sport.

Cristian Dettoni now meets Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos of Greece in the concluding group stage contest; on the opening day Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos was beaten by Alvaro Valera in five games (11-4, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7).

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