Sam Schroder and Niels Vink achieved Paralympic quad doubles glory after battling past defending champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson 6-4, 6-3 in the final held at the Ariake Tennis Centre Court in Tokyo, on Wednesday (1 September).
It was the first time a Dutch couple was crowned in the wheelchair tennis quad doubles event. USA's Nick Taylor and David Wagner won gold when this event was introduced into the Paralympic programme at Athens 2004. They went on to successfully defend the title twice in Beijing and London.
But the American duo lost the crown in Rio in 2016 to Australians Alcott and Davidson, who five years later arrived in Tokyo as the heavy favourites for gold once again. However, Schroder and Vink were inspired and not even a rain delay deterred them from clinching their first Paralympic title.
“I have no words. It’s just crazy that we achieved this at such a young age already," said 21-year-old Schroder -Vink is 18-. "Some games we were down, and then we kept somehow finding a way back into it. It was just incredible.”
He also shared how they are expecting to celebrate: “I hope we can find a beer somewhere.”
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There is not much time for the Dutch pair to celebrate though as Schroder will be facing Alcott in the singles gold medal match on Thursday (2 September), while Vink will play against Japanese Koji Sugeno for the bronze.
Their schedule still looks busy after Tokyo 2020. Schroder said: "I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of relaxing because we go straight to New York after Tokyo, off to the US Open. But of course, once we get back home we will just relax for a couple of weeks.”
Vink, on the other hand, could not take his eyes off the gold medal hanging around his neck. "I will keep it with me all day, for all my life."