by Ian Marshall
Fabien Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens of France emerged the men’s team class 1-2 winners, China’s Lian Hao and Zhao Yi Qing succeeded in men’s team 9-10.
Strong French support
Men’s team class 1-2, it was almost a repeat of the final in Rio de Janeiro; the only difference in personnel being that in the Brazilian city, Choo Sooyong had partnered Kim Kyungmook, in Tokyo he joined forces with Park Jinchoel.
Urged forward by team members in the tiered seating and journalists who had arrived for the occasion, the French pair responded.
After surrendering match points in the fourth game, putting safety first, waiting for the Korea Republic pair to make errors, Fabien Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens secured the doubles (4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-14, 11-8).
A major boost of confidence, Fabien Lamirault overcame Cha Sooyoung (11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6) to bring play to a conclusion.
“We came here to win, we won in Rio, we were the top seeds; we were tense in the final but we came through.” Fabien Lamirault
Notably, it was the fourth occasion when Stéphane Molliens had played in a men’s class 1-2 final at a Paralympic Games, additional to five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, he had gained silver in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London. Likewise, Fabien Lamirault had competed in London.
Lian Hao and Zhao Yi Qing
Success for France, in the contest that brought matters to a close, rather appropriately it was success for China.
Lian Hao and Zhao Yi Qing combined to record 2-0 win against the Australian combination formed by Ma Lin and Joel Coughlan.
The Chinese duo secured the doubles in straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-9), before Lian Hao accounted for Ma Lin (11-7, 11-5, 11-6).
Gold for Lian Hao and gold in men’s team class 9-10 for a third consecutive occasion having won in Rio de Janeiro and London; his partner on both occasions a certain Ma Lin!
“This is my third time participating in the Paralympics. I have won two gold medals for the team events before this. We felt the pressure coming into today’s competition. All the other Chinese teams before us had won gold; we’re the last team of Tokyo 2020. Besides, I didn’t make it to finals for the singles event, so all the more I wanted to fight hard for that gold medal.” Lian Hao
“Its is my second time. this is a breakthrough for me. Lian is a great player with comprehensive skills, so the pressure on me wasn’t as big. I just had to focus on playing to my usual ability.” Zhao Yi Qing
Impressive once again from China, they concluded play the owners of eight of the ten team titles on offer.