Poland’s Natalia Partyka has claimed her fourth consecutive Paralympic singles gold medal on Tuesday (13 September) at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Partyka overcame the challenge of longtime rival Yang Qian 3-0 (11-8, 18-16, 11-5) in the final of the women's singles class 10 title to secure victory.
“A fourth win, I’m so happy!” said Partyka. “Playing Yang Qian, it’s been close in the past. Four years ago in London it was five games, at the World Championships two years ago in Beijing it was five games again and she had one match point.
“Today I was prepared, I was ready and I played the best I have played in the whole tournament.”
Partyka is no stranger to breaking records at the Paralympics. She was the youngest ever Paralympian in table tennis history when she competed at Sydney 2000 aged just 11 years old.
At Athens 2004, she became the youngest ever Paralympic table tennis champion, and she was the first table tennis athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games when she qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Croatia's Sandra Paovic took home the women's singles class 6 gold on her Paralympic debut with a 3-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-4) victory over Germany's Stephanie Grebe.
Paovic had represented Croatia at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and was ranked within the top 50 in the world before a life threatening car accident. She suffered a severe cervical spinal injury, leaving her with limited use of her legs.
“I’m not a calm player who can look calm and play fantastically, I need to push myself to concentrate,” she said. “I don’t move really, they all move much better than me and this is an advantage for them, so I have to push myself to be somehow movable. This is not easy as I am the only one who has a spinal cord injury.
“To have a spinal cord injury like me and to play standing table tennis is really difficult but if I wasn’t as crazy as I am, I don’t think I could do that.”
The Netherlands’ Kelly Van Zon won 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-5) against Kubra Korkut to successfully defend her class 7 title.
Elsewhere, despite coming close to securing each game in the Gold medal match, two-time Paralympic Champion Lei Li Na could not withstand the contest from her fellow teammate Liu Meng, losing 0-3 (12-10, 13-11, 13-11) to the first time Paralympian.
China’s Zhao Shuai retained the men's class 8 title that he earned four years ago in London, defeating Hungary’s Andras Csonka 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-9).
Abudullah Ozturk was the hero of the day for Turkey, winning the country’s first male Paralympic table tennis gold medal with a 3-1 (10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5) win against China's Guo Xingyuan.
World number ones in class 1 and 2 respectively, Great Britain’s Robert Davies and Fabien Lamirault proved their status. Davies overcame Joo Young Dae 3-1 (14-12, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5) in the class 1 gold medal match, while Lamirault beat Poland's Rafal Czuper to claim the men's class 2 title.