02 Sep 2021

Drama, tension, emotion; those words did not describe the scene at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as proceedings at the semi-final stage of men’s team class 6-7 came to a close on the afternoon of Wednesday 1st September.

Paul Karabardak, surely wearing spring loaded shoes leapt like a five year old on Christmas morning, as he enjoyed his finest hour.

by Ian Marshall

The 35 year old from Swansea, listed at no.8 on the class 6 World rankings, contrary to all odds, beat Spain’s Alvaro Valero, the man named at the top of the order, to give Great Britain a 2-1 win against Spain.

He prevailed by the very narrowest of margin (5-11, 11-7, 14-12, 5-11, 11-9); the result somewhat the opposite of the opening doubles.

In a contest where both pairs held match points and saved match points, Jordi Morales and Alvaro Valero beat Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak in a quite titanic encounter (11-4, 11-8, 1-11, 10-12, 17-15).

Immediately, following, Will Bayley overcame Jordi Morales (14-12, 11-8, 11-8) to set the scene for Paul Karabardak to perform his heroics.

A tension packed engagement, it was very similar in the men’s team class 1-2 duel which witnessed success for Korea Republic’s Cha Sooyong and Park Incheol against Poland’s Rafal Czuper and Tomas Jacimczuk.

The Koreans won the doubles by a whisker (11-2, 8-11, 11-13, 11-9, 13-11); in the immediately ensuing match Rafal Czuper beat Park Incheol (7-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8) to level matters, Cha Sooyoung returned, he overcame Tomaz Jakimczuk (10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5) to secure victory.

Meanwhile, in the corresponding contests both ended with the 2-0 score line being the result; in comparison quite tame affairs but make no mistake, hard fought.

Class 1-2 witnessed success for the French partnership of Fabien Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens against Slovakia’s Martin Ludrovsky and Jan Riapos; in class 6-7, China’s Liao Keli and Yan Shuo overcame Germany’s Thomas Rau and Björn Schnake.

The final of both events will be played on Friday 3rd September, the class 1-2 gold medal match at 5.00 pm, the class 6-7 contest earlier in the day at 1.00 pm.

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