Chinese teenager beats idol to clinch table-tennis gold

19-year-old tells of delight as she causes upset of the day in Paralympics, beating the champion from Beijing and London. 13 Sep 2016
A look inside a venue where table tennis will be contested. On the court are four tennis tables set up.

The RioCentro - Pavilion 3 will stage table tennis during the Rio 2016 Games.

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Teenager Liu Meng caused the upset of the day in the table tennis finals, beating her Chinese national team colleague and idol Lei Lina to secure the women’s singles Class 9 gold medal.

The 19-year-old, currently ranked number five in the world and who was making her debut appearance in a Paralympic final, clinched gold in three straight games (12-10, 13-11, 13-11).

It was not just the fact that her opponent is ranked No.1 in the world that made the result an upset –Lina, 28, had won the last two Paralympic golds in Beijing and four years ago in London.

“I feel really happy, it’s unbelievable, it still feels like a dream and a surprise to me,” said Meng. “Even before I was selected for the national team, Lei Lina has always been my idol and role model.

“She’s won five Paralympic gold medals and beat me 3-0 earlier in the group stage. So I can’t believe that I just won 3-0; of course I hope to surpass her achievements, it’s a long way ahead and I am still young.”

In the other table tennis finals of the day, top seed and gold-medal favourite Fabien Lamirault justified his exalted status to win the Men’s Singles Class 2. At the final hurdle he beat the player who was arguably his closest rival and No.2 seed – Poland’s Rafael Czuper (11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9).

There were also wins for Sandra Paovic of Croatia who beat Stephanie Grebe of Germany 3-0 in the final of the women’s singles class 6; Shuai Zhao of China who beat Andras Csonka of Germany 3-0 in the men’s singles class 8; Robert Davies of Great Britain who beat Young Dae Joo of Korea 3-1 in the men’s singles class 1; Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands who beat Kubra Korkut of Turkey 3-0 in the women’s singles class7; Abdullah Ozturk of Turkey who beat Xingyuan Guo of China 3-1 in the men’s singles class 4; and Natalia Partyka of Poland who beat Qian Yang of China 3-0 in the women’s singles class 10.