10 Nov 2021

Outsiders, the host nation’s Yorick Adjal and Esteban Herrault, alongside Korea Republic’s Moon Sunghae and Kim Gitae emerged the biggest surprise names to secure titles, as play concluded in the individual events at the ITTF SQY French Para Open 2021 in Voisins les Bretonneux, a Paris suburb, on Wednesday 10th  November.

At the start of play, no member of the quartet was even predicted to gain first place in their respective group stage encounters.

by Ian Marshall

Competing in women’s singles class 4-5, in the later rounds Moon Sunghae beat colleague, Jung Younga, the top seed (11-8, 11-13, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9), before overcoming the host nation’s Alexandra Saint-Pierre (11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5) to seal the title.

Meanwhile, in the men’s events, Yorick Adjal emerged the class 3 winner, Esteban Herrault secured the class 6 title, Kim Gitae struck gold in class 11.

Esteban Herrault, the unexpected men’s singles class 6 gold medallist (Photo: Philippe Bouric)


Decisive contests

At the final hurdle Yorick Adjal beat Nigeria’s Ahmed Koleosho, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 5-11, 12-10), the semi-final winner in opposition to Frenchman, François Geuljans, the top seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-2).

Good form from Yorick Adjal, it was the same from Esteban Herrault. He accounted for Great Britain’s Martin Perry, the top seed, in the title decider (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6).

Likewise, Kim Gitae maintained a consistent performance level. In the group stage he accounted for Frenchman, Lucas Creange, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8), in the final when they met again, he repeated the performance (11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5).

Notably at the semi-final stage Lucas Creange had beaten Hungary’s Peter Palos, the top seed (6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5), the player against whom in the same round he had experienced defeat at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (14-12, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11).

Gold for Kim Gitae (Photo: Philippe Bouric)


Less pronounced

Surprise winners and there were more, the degree of the upset rather less pronounced.

In the women’s event, Great Britain’s Fliss Pickard, the no.2 seed, secured the class 6 title at the expense of Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal, the top seed (11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7).

“The singles tournament was really good for me especially with the numbers in class 6 growing all the time. I feel this was one of my most disciplined performances; it was just a great match to be involved in. I would like to thank Shaun Marples, Pathway Manager, who helped me massively in the corner and without the support of the rest of the team I couldn’t have got through the match.” Fliss Pickard

Fliss Pickard, the women’s class 6 winner (Photo: Philippe Bouric)


Overcoming prominent names

Similarly, in the men’s competition, occupying the second seeded spot, it was success for Korea Republic’s Kim Hakjin in class 1 and Frenchmen Clément Berthier in 8; listed one place lower in class 9, it was the top prize for Lucas Didier, also from France.

Both Kim Hakjin and Frenchmen Clément Berthier secured gold beating top seeded opposition in the finals; Kim Hakjin overcame Hungary’s Endre Major (6-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11); Clément Berthier accounted for Nigeria’s Victor Farinloye (11-7, 11-8, 11-7).

Wins against the top name, it was similar for Lucas Didier but in the penultimate round. He beat Bart van der Zanden on the Netherlands (13-11, 11-6, 11-7), prior to overcoming the Czech Republic’s David Pulpan (11-7, 11-7, 11-9) to seal the title.

Lucas Didier, the men’s singles class 9 champion (Photo: Philippe Bouric)


Status justified

Upsets but not in the women’s events for Croatia’s Andela Muzinic, Japan’s Yuri Tomono and Hungary’s Alexa Svitacs. All justified their top seeded positions.

Andela Muzinic won class 3, Yuri Tomono class 7-8, Alexa Svitacs class 9-10.

In a similar vein, in the men’s wheelchair categories, occupying the top seeded spot, Poland’s Tomasz Jakimczuk won class 2, Korea Republic’s Kim Younggun class 4, Norway’s Tommy Urhaug, class 5.

Top spot as status advised; in the men’s standings it was the same for Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki and Igor Misztal; Maksym Chudzicki prevailed in class 7, Igor Misztal in class 10.

Maksym Chudzicki secured gold in men’s singles class 7 (Photo: Philippe Bouric)


Attention now turns to the team events; play concludes on Thursday 11th November.

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