Kim Gi Tae steals the show at Andalucia WPTTC 2022

The 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championship took place in Granada, Spain between 6th and 12th of November.

A total of 32 athletes with intellectual impairment, 16 men and 16 women took part in the competition in the Class 11 category. Players who attracted the greatest attention were the returning Paralympic Champions. However, major casualties occurred in both men’s and women’s matches where many Tokyo2020 medallists failed to progress to the semi-finals.

Australia’s Samuel Von Einem was beaten by Kim Chang Gi by 3-2 in the first round whilst in the quarterfinals, Hungary’s Peter Palos lost to Kim Gi Tae from South Korea 3-0, and Cuesta Eduardo from Spain took down Lucas Creange (FRA) 3-2.

Kim Gi Tae (S.KOR) in action. Picture Credit- ITTF

From not qualifying to the semi-finals at the Paralympic Games last year to becoming the World no.1, South Korea’s Kim Gi Tae made quite a comeback. He emerged as the most successful player of the championship, securing gold in all three possible events – men’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles – the only player to achieve the feat.

In Men’s singles, Gi Tae overpowered Kim Chang and claimed the championship title by 3-0 (11-7,11-7,11-3) whilst in the doubles he and partner Jeong Kyuyoung grabbed the top spot on the podium by 3-0 win over Japan’s Takes Takemori and Kate Koya. Zhao Antoine and Ivaldi Timothe from France settled for the Bronze.

In Mixed doubles, once again South Korea dominated everyone. Kim Gi Tae and Seo Yang Hee (S.Korea) won the Gold by beating Japanese team (Asian Takashi/Furukawa Kanami) and French players Lea ferney and Lucas Creange settled for Bronze.

In the Women’s section, beating Maki Ito from Japan by 3-0, French superstar Lea Ferney secured herself a spot in the finals. Meanwhile, Polish player Lysiak Krystyna ended the hopes of Nowacka Dorota (POL) and entered the finals by 3-0.

In the finals, determined to win the championship, Tokyo 2020 silver medalist from France crushed her Polish opponent Lysiak Krystyna by 3-0.

Lea Ferney smashing in the finals. Picture Credit- ITTF

“I am glad to win the Gold. I started at 3rd rank and I am the first now, its a great feeling. Me and my coach prepared strategies before the competition and watched videos, and tried to do as we decided. This competition was great.” said Lea Ferney.

In Women’s doubles, Hong Kong’s NG Mui Wiu and Wong Ting Ting, defeated Lea Ferney and Anne Divet by 3-0. Turkey and Poland grabbed the final spot on the podium.

Full results can be accessed from ITTF Website.