India’s Bhavina Patel and Australia’s Yang Qian, alongside the host nation’s Jack Hunter-Spivey emerged the players to strike gold as the first titles in the Para events at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham were decided on Saturday 6th August.
Gold medallist and there was one notable common factor, all had secured medals just under a year ago at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In fact, in women’s singles class 6-10, both finalists had been gold medallsts in the Japanese capital city; Yang Qian had won class 10, Lei Li Na, class 9 winner.
Impressively in the splendid setting of the National Exhibition Centre Yang Qian prevailed (12-10, 16-14, 7-11, 11-9).
Gold for Yang Qian, it was bronze for Nigeria’s Faith Obazuaye; in the third place contest, she accounted for England’s Fliss Pickard (6-11, 11-7, 11-6 , 11-8).
Alas for Fliss Pickard, it was the same outcome as four years earlier in Gold Coast; on that occasion she had been beaten in the bronze medal match by Australia’s Andrea McDonnell (11-2, 11-6, 11-3).
Meanwhile, for Faith Obazuaye, it was one step lower than in 2018; on the east coast of Australia, she had experienced defeat in the final when opposing the home country’s Melissa Tapper (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3).
Gold Coast was the first time at a Commonwealth Games when Para events had been included, class 6-10 (standing) being staged in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles competitions; in Birmingham, class 3-5 (wheelchair) was introduced.
Silver medallist in class 4 at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, India’s Bhavini Patel beat Nigeria’s Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi (12-10, 11-2, 11-9) to claim the top prize; bronze went to compatriot Sonalben Patel, the victor in the third place match when facing England’s Sue Bailey (11-5, 11-2, 11-3).
Disappointment for the hosts but there was jubilation, Jack Hunter-Spivey, in Tokyo the class 5 bronze medallist, secured gold in men’s singles class 3-5; a contest in which the was an air of revenge.
In the group stage two days earlier, he had been beaten by Nigeria’s Nasiru Sule (11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7); in the final they met again, Jack Hunter-Spivey prevailed in four games (11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).
“On the first day of the competition I let the pressure get to me a bit too much and I didn’t really enjoy it. After that loss I made a conscious effort to just enjoy it and play the level I can do because there are definitely worse jobs in the world. So, I sat down with Rushy (Andrew Rushton) and looked at the game I had lost and thought “I’m getting my revenge – I’m going to beat him like he beat me in the group stages”, and I’ve done it and it is incredible and I can’t wait to move forward now.” Jack Hunter-Spivey
Silver for Nigeria, it was also bronze; Isau Ogunkunle beat India’s Raj Alagar to reserve third spot.
The bronze and gold medal matches in men’s singles class 8-10 will be played on Sunday 7th August; for bronze England’s Ross Wilson faces Nigeria’s Tajudeen Akunbiade; for gold it is Australia’s Ma Lin in opposition to Welshman, Josh Stacey.
- 2022 Commonwealth Games: Entries
- 2022 Commonwealth Games: Schedule of Play
- 2022 Commonwealth Games: Detailed Results