09 Jun 2023

Players full of confidence strike gold at tournament for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

Good form earlier in the year, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Po-Yen and Turkey’s Ebru Acer won the respective men’s and women’s singles titles at the Virtus Global Games 2023, play concluding in the French city of Vichy, on Friday 9th June.

Successful in Lignano in May, safely through to the semi-finals, Chen Po-Yen, the no.7 seed, accounted for colleague, Kim Changgi, the no.6 seed (11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3), the winner the previous round in opposition to Frenchman, Lucas Creange, the top seed (11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7).

A place in the final reserved, he confronted the man of the moment, Poland’s Maciej Makajew, a player whose first international venture was some six weeks ago in Greece when he secured bronze. In May he won in Slovenia, claimed bronze in Poland, now silver in Vichy, the complete set; a medal in every international tournament he has entered!

Furthermore, in Vichy, it was a worthy silver; he ended the hopes of most creditable opposition.

Not seeded, in the opening round he beat Korea Republic’s Kim Gitae, the reigning World champion (11-7, 11-5, 13-11), before recording a quarter-final success against Australia’s Samuel von Einem (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9), silver medallist at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

A penultimate round place secured another major scalp ensued. He ended the hopes of Hungary’s Peter Palos, the defending champion and winner in both London and Tokyo. Moreover, he won in style, straight games (11-6, 12-10, 11-9).

Stunning but no fairy tale ending, Chen Po-Yen showed no charity, the title secured in imposing fashion (11-8, 11-8, 15-13).

Gold for Chen Po-Yen, contrary to status, it was similar for Ebru Acer; she commenced play the no.5 seed.

The winner in Slovenia and Poland, the most recent international tournaments in which she competed, the 20-year-old made it three in a row.

Smooth progress to the last eight; Ebru Acer accounted for Hong Kong’s Ng Mui Wui, the reigning Asian champion and no.3 seed (11-9, 11-7, 12-10), prior to ousting Japan’s Kanami Furukawa (11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6), the quarter-final winner in opposition to Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-5).

Imposing form, the contest against Kanami Furukawa being the only time she dropped a single game; in the final it back to straight games. She caused Hong Kong more heartache by overcoming Wong Ting Ting (11-7, 11-7, 11-5).

Earlier at the semi-final stage, Wong Ting Ting, the no.7 seed, had beaten Sumeyra Turk, like Ebru Acer from Turkey (11-9, 11-6, 11-5), the quarter-final victor on opposition to France’s Lea Ferney, the top seed and reigning World champion (12-10, 11-7, 11-4).

Success for Ebru Acer, later in the proceedings she added further gold to her collection; partnering Sumeyra Turk, the duo recorded a two-nil win against Japan’s Maki Ito and Kanami Furukawa to secure the women’s team top prize.

Two titles to her collection, it was the same for Kim Gitae, he joined forces with Kim Bogyeom to don the men’s team crown; likewise, the pair overcame Japanese opposition to secure gold, a two-nil win being recorded in the final against Takeshi Takemori and Shunta Yamamoto.

Earlier, Kim Gitae had joined forces with Seo Yanghee to claim mixed doubles gold, overcoming Chen Po-Yen and Chinese Taipei colleague, Li Jing-Shiuan in the final (12-10, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7), the pairing thus repeating the success enjoyed at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships.

Similarly, in the women’s doubles it was success for a pairing that had won in Andalucia; Ng Mui Wui and Wong Ting Ting accounted for Kanami Furukawa and Mima Ito (11-8, 13-11, 12-10) to secure the top prize.

Familiar pairings, in the men’s doubles it was rather different, Hungary and Australia in harness. Peter Palos and Samuel von Einem emerged victorious, at the final hurdle defeating Lucas Creange and French colleague, Timothe Ivaldi (4-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9).

Play concluded in Vichy, attention now turns to Ostrava, the three-day Czech Para Open 2023 commences on Thursday 22nd June.

General News Virtus Global Games 2023 Para Table Tennis