21 Aug 2023

Class acts: star names underlined their quality.

China’s reigning Paralympic Games champions gave a clear indication at the ITTF Korea Para Open that when everyone meets next year in Paris for the 2024 Games, they start favourites to once again secure gold.

A factor 40 tournament for World ranking points, play concluded in Ulsan after three days of action on Sunday 20th August,

In the men’s singles, China’s Feng Panfeng succeeded in class 3, colleague Yan Shuo in class 7.

Not to be overshadowed, in the counterpart women’s events, there was success for teammates Liu Jing in class 1-2, Zhou Ying in Class 4, Zhang Bian in class 5.

Similarly, successful in Tokyo, in the women’s singles, Australia’s Lei Li Na won class 8-9, compatriot Yang Qian class 10.

However, one notable name was not able to repeat Tokyo form; in men’s singles class 1-2, the host nation’s Joo Youngdae experienced a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Korean colleague Hwang Seong Cheol (11-2, 11-5, 11-8).

Defeat but the result cannot be considered a major upset, Joo Youngdae has a greater impairment. He is a class 1 athlete, Hwang Seong Cheol is class 2.

Alas for Hwang Seong Cheol, there was no further progress, at the semi-final stage he was beaten by Indonesia’s Thirayu Chueawong (11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6); in turn he experienced defeat at the hands of Korea Republic’s Park Jincheol (5-11, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8).

Gold for Ander Cepas (Local Organising Committee)
Gold for Ander Cepas (Local Organising Committee)

Success as predicted, in the men’s singles it was the same for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih in class 5, Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom in class 6 and Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri in class 8, as well as for Spain’s Ander Cepas in class 9.

All commenced play occupying the top seeded positions. Likewise, in the women’s singles, Korea Republic’s Yoon Jiyu claimed class 3 gold.

Titles in a tournament where status prevailed, the upsets being very modest. Notably in the men’s singles, second seeds enjoyed success against top seeds. Thailand’s Wanchai Chaiwut beat Korea Republic’s Kim Youngun (11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5) to win class 4; in a group administered class 10 event, Chinese Taipei’s Su Kin-Sian finished ahead of Japan’s Mahiro Funayama.

Rather differently, the host’s Kim Gitae upset the order of merit. The fifth highest rated on duty but the reigning World champion, he beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Po-Yen, the top seed, in the class 11 final (11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-3).

Titles for the second seeds, it was the same in the women’s singles for Iraq’s Najlah Al-Dayyeni, Hong Kong’s Chiu Kan Shan and Japan’s Nanako Hazeyama.

Competing in class 6, Najlah Al-Dayyeni secured the title at the expense of Morgen Caillaud from France (11-4, 11-4, 11-8), a player against whom she had experienced defeat in the group stage (8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 14-12, 13-11). Earlier, Korea Republic’s Lee Kunwoo had finished in third place in her group, thus not qualifying for the main draw.

The podium in women's singles class 6,
The podium in women’s singles class 6, Najlah Al-Dayyeni, the winner (Photo: Local Organising Committee)

More according to status, Hong Kong’s Chiu Kan Shan overcame Korea Republic’s Kim Seongok in the class 7 final, (11-8, 3-11, 11-3, 11-9); Nanako Hazeyama accounted for colleague Natsuki Wada (16-14, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7) to win class 11. Both Kim Seongok and Natsuki Wada commenced proceedings as the top seeds.

Silver for Kim Seongok and Natsuki Wada, later in the proceedings it was to be gold; in the women’s doubles, Kim Seongok partnered colleague Lee Kunwoo to class 7 success, Natsuki Wada joined forces with her nemesis, Nanako Hazeyama to claim women’s doubles class 22 gold.

Two titles for Nanako Hazeyama, it was the same for China’s Zhang Bian and Zhou Ying, women’s singles success when apart, class 10 women’s doubles success when together.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Wanchai Chaiwut added to his men’s singles success by partnering colleague Yutajak Glinbanchuen to men’s doubles class 8 gold; a situation that applied to Spain’s Ander Cepas and China’s Yan Shuo.

Partnering teammates, Ander Cepas enjoyed men’s doubles class 9 success alongside Jorge Cardona, Yan Shuo in class 8 with Liao Keli. The win for Liao Keli meant he departed with two golds; later, on the final day of action he allied with Jin Yucheng to secure the mixed doubles class 14 top prize.

Similarly, in class 22, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Po-Yen partnered Australia’s Samuel von Einem to men’s doubles gold and compatriot Li Jing-Shiuan to mixed doubles success.

Not to be overshadowed, as proceedings approached a conclusion in the mixed doubles events, alongside colleagues Chinese Taipei’s Sin Jin-Sian, Korea Republic’s Park Jincheol and Feng Panfeng added to their earlier men’s singles triumphs.

Sin Jin-Sian partnered Lin Tzu-Yu to class 20, gold, Park Jincheol allied with Seo Suyeon to win class 4, Feng Panfeng prevailed in class 3 alongside Zhou Ying. Success for Seo Suyeon, later she partnered colleague Lee Migyu to women’s doubles class 5 gold, for Zhou Ying meant she completed the full house.

Advice for Yang Qian from Alois Rosario (Photo: Organising Committee)
Advice for Yang Qian from Alois Rosario (Photo: Organising Committee)

Notably, it was also the complete set for Australia’s Lei Li Na who, alongside colleague Yang Qian in New Taipei City and Taichung, had both completed the deed.

Gold earlier two days earlier in the women’s singles event, the duo joined forces to win women’s doubles class 10, before in an all-Australian mixed doubles class 17 final, Nathan Pellissier and Lei Li Na beat Lennard Properjohn and Yang Qian (8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-8).

Worthwhile journeys, competing on home soil it was the same for Baek Youngbok and Joo Youngdae in men’s doubles class 4, a situation in mixed doubles class 10 that applied to Park Jaehyeon and Kang Oejeong. They prevailed in class 10.

Play concluded in Ulsan, attention now turns to Pattaya; a factor 40 tournament for World ranking points, the four-day ITTF Thailand Para Open 2023 commences on Thursday 24th August.


General News ITTF Korea Para Open 2023 Para Table Tennis

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