28 Aug 2021

The first titles decided at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on the evening of Saturday 28th August, true to the best traditions the multi-sport gathering, emotions ran high.

Gold finished in the hands of Russia’s Elena Prokefeva, Ian Seidenfeld of the United States and Belgium’s Laurens Devos in addition to China’s Feng Panfeng and Liu Jing.

by Ian Marshall

Secure defensive skills secured the women’s singles class 11 title for Elena Prokofeva; remaining calm, waiting for her adversary to make mistakes, a four games win was the order of the day (11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5).

Astute play crucial, no player was more astute that Ian Seidenfeld, guided by father, Mitchell; in the group stage the 20 year old had lost to Peter Rosenmeier in five games (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8), in the final he prevailed in straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-8).

Quite simply, father and son had done their homework; time and again Ian Seidenfeld pinned the Rosenmeier backhand, the Dane, the defending champion, made mistakes.

“I was so focused on the match, I’m so happy, I couldn’t have done better. I tried to stop him talking the advantage; I prepared well and mentally I was good. My father is a part of me, he taught me to be disciplined when I play, to keep calm, I think this can help me in other aspects of life.” Ian Seidenfeld

Two finals decided in straight games, the third, the contest between China’s Feng Panfeng and Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger to determine the men’s singles class 3 title was very different.

The contest went the full distance, Feng Panfeng being required to resist a brave recovery by the German (11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 4-11, 11-9).

“After I won the first two games, I felt slightly relieved. At that point, I was a little impatient and wanted to win the game quickly, my impatience got the better of me, when the fourth game started, I still couldn’t stop thinking about how I lost the third game. Also, when the fifth started, I was also behind. There was a moment when I thought I’d lose the match, but I quickly recovered and fought back, one point at a time. My fourth time taking part in the Paralympics, but I’ve never felt as nervous.” Feng Panfeng

Fourth time, it is now the fourth consecutive time, commencing in Beijing in 2008, when Feng Panfeng has secured the title.

Immediately following in women’s singles class 1-2, it was exactly the same for colleague, Liu Jing. Likewise commencing in 2008 in Beijing she has now won  four times in a row.

In a repeat of the Rio 2016 final, once against Liu Jing prevailed; in the Brazilian city she had succeeded in four games against Seo Suyeon (11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6), she did the same in the Japanese metropolis (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8).

“Although I prepared very well for the Paralympics, my state of mind just hasn’t been good. I’ve been feeling rather uneasy, worrying about the outcome and just not as confident as the previous few Games. My opponent played really well. I think she’s the best in our class.

I’m very emotional. Ever since I gave birth, I haven’t been practising much. We had a one-year training camp to prepare for the Paralympics, I just wasn’t as focused as before I started a family. My mental state hasn’t been good, so winning this means a lot to me. My son is four years old. He knows I’m playing at the Paralympics, but I didn’t want to tell him what time semi-finals and finals were.” Liu Jing

Titles retained and it was the same for Belgium’s Laurens Devos; after losing the opening game in the men’s singles class 9 final, he moved into a different gear, emerging successful in a most imposing manner (9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3).

“Before the semi-final today I was nervous, I talked to my coach and said to myself just enjoy the match, I played at a good level so I’m very happy about the match. Two matches today, normally it’s just one but it’s better than having to wait until tomorrow and be thinking about the final. I’ve lost to him before, I watched videos of him playing so I’m really happy.

It’s amazing to win for a second time, it helps mentally, you practise hard and then you win, it motivates you.” Laurens Devos

Seven finals follow on Sunday, a further six on Monday.

General News Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

No results found.