30 Aug 2021

Nine titles decided, in the second session of play on Sunday 29th August at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, a further four precious gold medals were claimed.

China continued to add to the collection in the guise of Zhang Bian and Xue Juan; Hungary enjoyed success thanks to Peter Palos as did Poland in the guise of Patryk Chojnowski.

by Ian Marshall

An all Chinese affair commenced proceedings, the women’s singles class 5 title at stake. It proved a tense affair.

Saved match points

Eventually, Zhang Bian, the top seed, overcame Pan Jiamin, the no.3 seed (12-14, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7) but she came perilously close to defeat; in the fourth game, she saved match point on two occasions before emerging successful.

“Yes, we can call it a heart-stopping match. I didn’t expect to lose the first two games. I was even mentally prepared for a possible defeat, because the younger players in our team are very strong. Besides, I usually take a while to get into the groove and wasn’t as fired up to fight hard; that was how I lost the first two games. I was very nervous in the final game; my hand even trembled a little.

My teammate Feng Panfeng has won four gold medals in a row. He’s my motivation to do better in each competition. The first person I want to share my joy with is my husband. He’s been my pillar of support, alongside my entire family.” Zhang Bian

A third consecutive success for Zhang Bian, previously she had won in both London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).

Zhang Bian recovered from a two games to nil deficit (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Conversely for Pan Jiamin, she was competing in her first Paralympic Games.

Services effective

Hard earned, a full distance success for Zhang Bian, for colleague, Xue Juan, in the immediately ensuing contest, the women’s singles class 3 final, it was a straight games win in opposition to Slovakia’s Alena Kanova (11-2, 11-6, 11-9).

The fast serves executed by Xue Juan caused Alena Kanova a host of problems as did the returns from the long pimpled rubber on the backhand.

“I was a little nervous before the match; it was a final after all. I even had insomnia last night. I did watch video recordings of her matches, but it’s not the same as playing an opponent in person. Before the match, I couldn’t stop thinking about how to defeat her.

I’m very happy and will continue to work hard. The first person I’ll call is my mum. She has been following my matches closely. I haven’t spoken to her since the start of the Games. In fact, I haven’t spoken to anyone, for fear that I’d get distracted. I didn’t even reply to texts from my friends and family, because I just didn’t want to know about anything not related to the competition.” Xue Juan

Most impressive from Xue Juan, the title retained in style.

Xue Juan in outstanding form (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Meanwhile, for Alena Kanova, a third Paralympic Games final, she won in 2000 in Sydney, before being the runner up in 2008 in Beijing.

Nail biting final

Success for China, a nation steeped in the history of the sport; later it was success for Hungary, equally proud of its ancestry. Peter Palos beat Australia’s Samuel von Einem to clinch the men’s singles class 11 title. He succeeded by the very narrowest of margins (6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Crucially at the change of ends in the decisive fifth game Peter Palos led 5-2; Samuel von Einem continued his aggressive policy but in his eagerness made mistakes. At 10-6 Peter Palos held four match points, the Australian saved three but could not make it four, returning a short service into the net.

“I don’t think I played that well in this tournament; I think in the final he wanted it more than me; he made mistakes and that helped me. I think the quarter-final match again Japan’s Takashi Asano was my best of the tournament. It’s unbelievable I won  but I have a good team around me, I feel very much at home with them; they are always supporting me.” Peter Palos

Success for Peter Palos means he has now won the title twice. He prevailed in 2012 in London, he was the bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro.

Heartbreal for Samuel von Einem (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Alas for Samuel von Einem it is the same fate as in Rio de Janeiro, silver.

Title regained

Gold for Peter Palos by the narrowest of decisions, for Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski in men’s singles class 11, life was rather less dramatic; he accounted for Frenchman, Mateo Boheas in straight games (11-8, 11-5, 12-10) to secure the title.

“I feel I played well today, I was focused, I didn’t make silly mistakes. Always I think back to Rio when in the final I had match point and lost; I have never watched a video of that match, now maybe I’ll take a look. I’m so happy, it’s amazing.” Payryk Chojnowski

Thus, Patryk Chojnowski having won in 2012 in London, regained the title he had surrendered in Rio de Janeiro when beaten in the final by China’s Ge Yang in an epic final (5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 16-14).

Patryk Chojnowski, a step ahead (Photo: Rémy Gros)


It was for Mateo Boheas his first ever Paralympic Games final.


The finals of women’s singles class 6 and class 7 plus men’s singles class 1 and class 8 will be played in the morning session on Monday 30th August; following in the late afternoon will be men’s singles class 2 and class 4, in addition to women’s singles class 9 and class 10.

Team events commence of Tuesday 31st August.

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