Double Gold Medallists but No Main Draw Place for London Star Name
2016 Paralympic Games
Courtesy of ITTF
The Slovak Republic’s Jan Riapos alongside China’s Feng Panfeng and Ma Lin emerged as the most successful male players at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
They were the athletes who emerged not only with gold in their respective classes in the Men’s Singles events but also in the Men’s Team competitions.
Will that feat be repeated at the Rio 2012 Paralympic Games; play commences on Thursday September 8th and concludes on Saturday September 17th.
In London Jan Riapos won Men’s Singles Class 2 before partnering colleagues Martin Ludrovsky and Ratislav Revucky to the top prize in Men’s Singles Class 1-2.
Likewise, Feng Panfeng won Men’s Singles Class 3 prior to joining forces with compatriot Gao Yanming to secure the Men’s Team Class 3 title. In a similar vein, the Men’s Singles Class 9 crown was donned by Ma Lin. Later in liaison with Ge Yang, Lian Ho and Lu Xiaolei, the Men’s Team Class 9-10 title was secured.
However, the star of the show, the player to hit the headlines was not a member of that select trio; nor did he secure a medal of any color.
The player to attract the most attention was Great Britain’s David Wetherill, competing in the Men’s Singles Class 6 event.
In his opening contest, he beat Italy’s Raimondo Alecci in a full distance five games duel (7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9); in order to secure top place in the group he needed to overcome Germany’s Thomas Kusiak.
A tense affair, Thomas Kusiak established a two games to one lead; in the fourth game they were level at 4-all. The German played wide to the forehand of David Wetherill who seemingly flew through the air, rolled over and executed a forehand top spin across the diagonal that brought both coaches to their feet.
It was a moment of magic and made the name David Wetherill more well-known than any other player.
The point of the tournament – David Wetherill against Thomas Kusiak
Third in Group
Ironically, he lost the match in four games (7-11, 11-5, 25-23, 11-7), Raimondo Alecci beat Thomas Kusiak in four games (5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8) thus games ratio decided the outcome.
Raimondo Alecci finished in first place (5:4), Thomasz Kusiak second (4:4) and David Wetherill third (4:5).
Only the player finishing in first place in the group progressed to the main draw. The two players who had been involved in what was arguably the most memorable moment in the whole tournament, were both eliminated.
One wonders, what gems await in Rio de Janeiro.