Gold the colour of the medal, winners look back on their efforts on Tuesday 19th July at the ITTF Thailand Para Open 2022 in Pattaya.
Thirayu Chueawong (Thailand) – Winner Men’s Singles Class 2
Age: 23 years old
First Played: Four years ago
Semi-Final: beat Cha Sooyong (Korea Republic) 11-9, 11-8, 11-9
“I was nervous but I practised hard, I do meditation and think about the strategy to compete, in the game I adjust regarding the guidelines from my coach. I am very happy that I won this match because I was expecting a lot from this match. Before I needed 18 points to play in the World Championships. Now I have more than 18 points, so I moved into the top 10 in the world.”
Alvaro Valera (Spain) – Winner Men’s Singles Class 6
Age: 39 years old
First Played: 10 years old
Final: beat Rungroj Thainiyom (Thailand) 11-5, 7-11, 11-13, 14-12, 11-9
“It’s quite difficult when you get old and you need to play with younger players. It was both a difficult and nice match. He made it an uncomfortable game for me, I needed to have sharp tactics to play against him, he is a good player. Anybody could have won, it was a very close match and tight competition, I needed a lot of focus.
I feel proud of the performance and glad to win the gold medal in a maximum factor 40 tournament this year
At this moment of my sporting career the most important thing my physical shape. I have to work with my physicality because of the neurological condition which I was born with, so every year I lose my power, I am weaker every year. I used to play in class 8, then class 7 now in class 6. Every year is challenge for me. I have to be more intelligent on the table, more tactics to compensate my power capability in the game”
Kelly van Zon (Netherlands) – Winner Women’s Singles Class 7-8
Age 35 years old
Winner group event
“Always nice to bring the medals home. Now, I will prepare for the mixed doubles which starts tomorrow with my teammate, Jean-Paul Montanus. After that all my eyes will be on the World Championships in November, I will prepare as much as I can, much practice. After the Tokyo Olympic Games, I took very long break, I really needed it. I feel now ready to come back. I hope I will be ready for the World Championships
I don’t have any strategies; I just enjoy the game. I really like to go on trips, meet new people, to live the athlete life. I think the athlete life has always motivated me, always strive to make yourself better and better, make your game stronger and stronger. I am not young anymore. I started internationally when I was around 14 years. Now I am almost 35 but as long as I can play at the top of table tennis I have no plan to stop.”
Wanchai Chaiwut (Thailand) – Winner Men’s Singles Class 4
33 years old
World Ranking: No.2
Final: beat Kim Yonggun (Korea Republic) 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9
“I’m very glad and proud that I could do it. I thought I could not win because I had never beaten him in any match. In this tournament, my eyes were at only him.
Actually, I always record the data of playing against him for every match. Why I lost, how I can fix it. I practised a lot, before this match I never thought of any strategy to compete against him, I am always afraid of his game because he is very secure and very calm. In this tournament I developed a strategy to compete against him. So, I am so glad that finally I won him.
I think what I do is the right way. I always told myself to think positively. For instance, if I play against the top seed I need to have confidence and not be scared.”