Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Tokyo 2020: Laurens Devos developing future

Paralympic champion picks informatics as university career 25 Aug 2018
Man plays table tennis

Laurens Devos is Paralympic and European champion

ⒸMorten Olsen

“I do not feel much pressure knowing that I am No.1 because I do not think about it. I just play and see.”

Paralympic prodigy Laurens Devos has goals that go beyond sports. Belgium’s 18-year-old table tennis player, who just graduated from secondary school, faced the dilemma of focusing on sports or devoting himself entirely to his informatics studies at university.

With two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Devos has decided combining both is the best choice moving forward.

“I had to decide either go full time with table tennis or with studies. I chose to combine both so I will only take half of my study points. Hopefully it will work,” he explained.

“If I see it is too hard, I will stop studying and go full time with my table tennis. But my ambition outside sports is my school. I will do my best to combine them.

“I am really excited about starting the new year of school because now I can do what I like doing. I am looking forward to do this.”

World domination

Devos is currently participating in a training camp in China, hoping to be selected for the table tennis team for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. “I am second reserve so maybe there is still a chance,” he said.

After that, he plans to compete in October’s 2018 World Championships in Lasko, Slovenia.

“My goal is to win a gold medal. It will be hard but I will do my best to achieve this. I already have European, Paralympic and Belgian titles. Now I want to become world champion.

“I try to practice every day as hard as possible. Hopefully I will still improve my game.”

Despite his youth, Devos admits being the world No.1 in the men’s class 9 and being the youngest male Paralympic table tennis champion at Rio 2016 does not add extra pressure onto his shoulders.

Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, he only wants to focus on his play. “If I play such a big competition, I just think ‘just play your game and you will see where you are going to be.’

“I do not feel much pressure knowing that I am No.1 because I do not think about it. I just play and see.”