12 Nov 2022

Strong mental attitude crucial, positive approach vital

Fever pitch, nails bitten to the quick, on Friday 11th November, the penultimate day of play at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championship, the Palacio Municipal de Deportes de Granada was no place for the faint of heart.

The first titles in the men’s and women’s singles events were decided.

Lea Ferney of France had the distinction of winning the first to be determined, she emerged successful in women’s singles class 11; at the final hurdle she overcame Poland’s Krystyna Lysiak (11-6, 11-8, 11-7).

“It’s wonderful, this victory makes me number one. I’ve only lost one game in the tournament, it’s incredible. My next objective is to win gold in Paris 2024, because the Paralympics are in my country and that makes me excited.” Lea Ferney.

Success for France, soon after there was success for Korea Republic’s Kim Gitae. At the final hurdle of men’s singles class 11, he accounted for colleague Kim Changgi (11-7, 11-7, 11-3) to arrest the title.

“I didn’t expect to be the champion in this tournament because I lost in the first round in Tokyo, so I’m supper happy; to play a final with a compatriot is great pride for Korea.” Kim Gitae

The win for Kim Gitae meant a full house, earlier in class 22 he had secured the mixed doubles partnering Seo Yanghee, the men’s doubles in harness with Jeong Kyuyoung.

A clean sweep for Kim Gitae, for Turkey’s Kubra Korkut it was sweet revenge; she overcame Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands to secure women’s singles class 7 gold (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), the player against whom she had experienced defeat in the final four years ago in Lasko.

“This victory is a dream for me. I’ve never won a final against Kelly, I thought today was the day. I cried because this is the result of working hard and want to improve myself. I dedicate it to my team, without them, it would not have been possible.” Kubra Korkut

Gold for Kubra Korkut, it was the same in women’s singles class 3 for Korea Republic’s Yoon Jiyu; like Kubra Korkut, the first gold in her class at a World Para Championships; at the final hurdle she accounted for Croatia’s Andela Muzinic (11-5, 11-6, 11-5).

“Here it was a great chance for me to win a title, I’ve taken the opportunity.” Yoon Jiyu

Rather differently on the corresponding table it was title regained; Great Britain’s Will Bayley accounted for Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands (11-6, 11-7, 11-6), to reclaim the prize he had won in 2014 in Beijing.

“I was so focused. I knew that when you’re playing someone like Jean-Paul you have to be on top form and at your very best, being World champion again means everything to me. I train really hard and work hard every day, everyone does, anyone who knows me knows I love this sport. It means everything to me, more than just table tennis it is about my mindset and my attitude.” Will Bayley

Title won in 2014 regained, it was the same for Germany’s Valentin Baus, successful eight years ago in Beijing, he beat Turkey’s Ali Ozturk (11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7) to claim the men’s singles class 5 crown.

“I’m really happy that I could win today, it’s a very important result for me.” Valentin Baus

Success for Germany, soon after there was more success; Thomas Schmidberger accounted for Jenson van Emburgh of the United States (11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9) to emerge the men’s singles class 3 winner.

“I am really happy, I need sometime to come together with what has just happened, it’s difficult at the moment to know what to say,” Thomas Schmidberger

Imposing performances from Valentin Baus and Thomas Schmidberger; in the women’s singles class 6 final, it was the same from Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko, no charity was displayed (11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

“It is very important in my career because it reconfirms my gold in the 2018 World Championships. I think the difficult situation in Ukraine makes me more a fighter. I dedicated this to my country and her people.” Maryna Lytovchenko

The result means that like Valentin Baus, Maryna Lytovchenko holds both World and Paralympic Games titles; Tokyo form was repeated in Granada.

Notable success for Germany; rather differently in women’s singles class 4, it was defeat at the final hurdle, Thailand’s Wijittra Jaion overcame Sandra Mikolaschek by the very closest of decisions (11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 12-10).

“I am very happy to have been able to play here; it’s been a great experience.” Wijittra Jaion

Gold for Thailand, in men’s singles class 6 the colour was silver; in the title decider Italy’s Matteo Parenzan beat Rungroj Thainiyom (3-11, 14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6).

“One month I didn’t think that I couldn’t be here, I was ill in hospital; this has always been my dream, I have chased, and I have achieved it. I don’t know my limit, I am 19 years old and I am ready for everything.” Matteo Parenzan

Runners up spot for Thailand, it was same in women’s singles class 5; Alexandra Saint-Pierre from France proved too secure for Panwas Sringam (11-7, 11-6, 11-7).

“It is unbelievable, I never thought I would one day become a World champion, thank you to Granada and the whole organisation.” Alexandra Saint-Pierre

Meanwhile, in the contest that brought the day to a conclusion it was gold for Belgium, Laurens Devos, the winner four years ago, overcame Welshman, Josh Stacey to arrest the men’s singles class 9 title.

“I defended my world title; it was the objective and I’ve succeeded; I felt very good in all matches and in this city, Granada is incredible. I love it.” Laurens Devos

Ten titles await to be decided, in the men’s events, they are class 1, class 2, class 4, class 8 and class 10; for the women it is class 1, class 2, class 8, class 9 and class 10.

Play concludes in Granada on Saturday 12th November.

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