Eight titles at stake on Sunday 29th August at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games; five finished in Chinese hands to add to the one won the previous evening when Feng Panfeng had claimed men’s singles class 3 gold.
Zhang Bian saved two match points against Pan Jiamnin
Zhou Ying, Mao Jingdian, Zhang Bian and Xue Juan all emerged successful as did Yan Shuo; the player to experience a somewhat surprise defeat was Cao Ningning.
The top seed in the final of men’s singles class 5, after holding one match point in the fourth game, he was beaten by Germany’s Valentin Baus, the no.4 seed (11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7).
Notably, the result was a reversal of the decision five years earlier when in the final in Rio de Janeiro, Cao Ningning had won in straight games (13-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Success for Cao Ningning was followed in men’s singles class 7 by more success for China, Yan Shuo recovered from an opening game deficit to beat Great Britain’s Will Bayley (4-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8), the second game crucial, having for the most part been in arrears, winning the game by the minimal two point margin was a major confidence boost.
Gold for Yan Shuo meant it was two steps higher than in Rio de Janeiro. In the Brazilian city, at the semi-final stage he had lost to the host nation’s Israel Stroh (11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9), before overcoming Spain’s Jordi Morales (11-4, 8-11. 11-7, 11-7) to secure third place.
Plenty of emotion, in women’s singles class 8 it was very different, a very cool, calm and collected Mao Jingdian beat Chinese national team colleague, Huang Wenjuan (11-13, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9) to arrest the title. Gold for Mao Jingdian and gold for the third consecutive time; she won in both London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).
Defeat for Huang Wenjuan but she could be most satisfied with her efforts; it was her first ever appearance at a Paralympic Games.
A comprehensive win for Mao Jingdian, in a further all Chinese final, women’s singles class 5, life was very different. Zhang Bian saved two match points in the fourth game before eventually overcoming Pan Jiamin (12-14, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7).
The win meant it was a third consecutive success for Zhang Bian, previously she had won in both London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016). Rather differently Pan Jiamin was competing in her first Paralympic Games.
Hard earned, for Zhang Bian, for colleague Xue Juan, it was a most comprehensive performance. She overcame Slovakia’s Alena Kanova in straight games (11-2, 11-6, 11-9).
Most impressive from Xue Juan, the title retained; for Alena Kanova, a second Paralympic Games final, she won in 2000 in Sydney, before being the runner up in 2008 in Beijing.
Eight gold medal matches remain; the finals of women’s singles class 6 and class 7 plus men’s singles class 1 and class 8 will be played in the morning session on Monday 30th August; following in the late afternoon will be men’s singles class 2 and class 4, in addition to women’s singles class 9 and class 10.
Team events commence of Tuesday 31st August.
Editor: Ian Marshall