The third of the year, in fact three in a row for Thailand’s Wanchai Chaiwut and Rungroj Thainiyom; however, when play concluded at the ITTF Japan Para Open on Saturday 2nd September, once again Australia’s leading ladies, Lei Li Na and Yang Qian proved class acts.
Four appearances this year to date, four wins; in Tokyo, a factor 40 tournament for World ranking points, Lei Li Na prevailed in class 9, Yang Qian in class 10.
Furthermore, as in New Taipei City, Taichung and Ulsan, both added to their title haul. Later in proceedings, together they won women’s doubles class 20, alongside colleague Ma Lin, the men’s singles class 9 winner, Yang Qian succeeded in mixed doubles class 20.
However, for Lei Li Na, who on all three previous occasions had completed the full house, there was defeat.
Partnering Nathan Pellissier in mixed doubles class 17, in a group organised event, the duo had to settle for silver; they were beaten by eventual winners, Japan’s Koyo Iwabachi and Yuri Tomono (11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5).
Certainly, Koyo Iwabachi proved himself a worthy partner, in addition he won men’s doubles class 18 alongside colleague Hayuma Abe.
Commencing play the top seeds, the wins recorded by Lei Li Na and Yang Qian were as anticipated, it was the same for Rungroj Thainiyom in class 6. In addition to making it three in a row, he made it three in Tokyo.
Alongside Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri he won men’s doubles class 14, with Kanlaya Chaiwut-Kriabklang, mixed doubles class 14.
Meanwhile, for Wanchai Chaiwut in class 4, it was a mild surprise. He commenced play as the no.2 seed, in the final, he accounted for Korea Republic’s top seeded Kim Younggun (4-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6).
Successful in Ulsan and Pattaya, Wanchai Chaiwut added another distinction to his name, alongside Australia’s Samuel von Einem in class 11, he was the only men’s singles winner who did not occupy the top seeded position! Later Samuel von Einem partnered Chen Po-Yen to men’s doubles class 22 success.
Colleagues justified their status, Thirayu Chueawong won class 2, Yuttajak Glinbanchuen class 3, Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri class 8.
Similarly, additional to Ma Lin, it was success for Korea Republic’s Kim Hyeouk in class 1, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih in class 5.
Not to be left out, the host nation’s Katsuyoshi Yagi prevailed in class 7, Mahiro Funayama in class 10.
Notably for Yuttajak Glinbanchuen, it was to be a full house of three titles and one more for Thirayu Chueawong; together, as in Ulsan and Pattaya, they won men’s doubles class 8.
A full house for Yuttajak Glinbanchuen (Photo: Kazuki Kodama)
Later, on the concluding day of play, Yuttajak Glinbanchuen claimed the mixed doubles class 7 title in harness with compatriot Wijittra Jaion; the women’s doubles class 10 winner earlier in the day partnering Wassana Sringam.
Predominantly success for favourites, in the women’s singles, the only upset was when the no.2 seed, prevailed; the name to attract the attention being the host nation’s Nanako Hazeyama.
Competing in class 11, she ended the hopes of top seed and colleague Sayuri Mio in the penultimate round (11-7, 11-7, 11-9), prior to accounting for Miya Yamaguchi, also from Japan (6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 16-14, 11-8), in the final.
Good form, that good form continued on the concluding day of action; in class 22, Nanako Hazeyama partnered Miya Yamaguchi to women’s doubles gold, Hajime Hara to mixed doubles success.
Similarly, in women’s singles class 4-5, the decision went in favour of the second seed.
Korea Republic’s Moon Sunghye beat Brazil’s Joyce Oliveira, the no.3 seed, to secure the class 4-5 title by the narrowest of decisions (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9); Joyce Oliveira having ousted Wijittra Jaion, the top seed, at the semi-final stage (11-7, 8-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-7).
Gold for Moon Sunghye, on the concluding day of play there was more; she partnered Kim Kiyoung to the mixed doubles class 10 title; the win adding to the success of her compatriots, Baek Youngbok and Park Jungsoo in men’s doubles class 4.
Otherwise, in the women’s singles, as with Lei Li Na and Yang Qian, it was success for the top seeds.
Thailand’s Dararat Asayut won class 2-3, Hong Kong’s Chiu Kan Shan, class 6-7. Gold for Chiu Kan Shan, on the last day of proceedings she added women’s doubles class 14 gold, partnering teammate Wong Yue Ching.
Play concluded in Tokyo, attention now turns to the English city of Sheffield; the six-day 2013 European Para Championships commence on Monday 4th September.
- ITTF Japan Para Open 2023 – Podium Places
- ITTF Japan Para Open 2023 – Complete Results
- ITTF Japan Para Open 2023 – ITTF YouTube Channel