GOLD COAST, Australia – Melissa Tapper won Australia’s first Table Tennis Commonwealth Games gold medal for any athlete. Tapper claimed the historic gold in the women’s singles TT6-10 final on Saturday after competing in both para and non-para events in the Gold Coast.
In front of a mammoth home crowd, Tapper came from behind to win the gold, defeating Nigerian faith Obazuaye 3-1 (7-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3). It was an entertaining match, in front of the biggest crowd for Australian Table Tennis history, with Tapper using the energy from the crowd to claim gold.
MADRID – The Madrid Open Boccia tournament took place this weekend but was notable for the debut of Tunisia, entering its first Boccia meet, firmly joining the ranks of world boccia.
In the individual BC1 was easily won by British player David Smith, who won the final 12-0 against Dutchman Daniel Perez. The home fans were left disappointed as Greek player Christos Kypriotis defeated Spaniard Desiree Segarra 7-2 in the bronze medal match.
There was some success for Tunisia in its first ever tournament as there was Tunisian semifinalist in the Individual BC2. Achraf Tayahi made history becoming the first Tunisian in a BISFed meet semifinal finishing fourth after falling to Belgian Francis Rombouts. Yet again Spanish fans were left disappointed as Bernd Meints managed a 4-1 win over home hope Benito Sanchez in the final.
British success continued in the individual BC3 with two medals in the classification through Jamie McCowan and Patrick Wilson. Unfortunately for Team GB, they were the minor medals as Greek player Grigorios Polychronidis defeated McCowan for the gold. Wilson claimed the bronze with an 8-1 win over Belgian Pieter Cilissen.
A second British champion was crowned in the individual BC4 as Stephen McGuire beat Portuguese player Manuel Cruz 8-2 in the final. Spain managed its first medal of the meet in an all Iberian bronze medal match as Vasile Agache defeated Portuguese player Nuno Guerreiro.
Britain also claimed the win in the Pairs BC3 event, winning a thriller 6-5 against Belgium, claiming the win in a thrilling come back. 5-0 down after two ends things were looking bad but the British pair of Jamie and Scott McCowan scored four in the third end after substituting in Scott McCowan for Patrick Wilson. In the final end, the British pair managed to score two to claim the gold in a thrilling match.
The bronze was also a thrilling match with a Portuguese comeback falling agonizingly short losing to Greece 5-4. After Greece shot out to a 5-0 lead, Portugal responded, managed three in the third end to make for a tight finish. But in the final end, Portugal could only manage a score of one giving Greece the bronze.
The team event saw another gold for Great Britain as it dominated the tournament easily defeating Greece in the final 12-0. The bronze medal match was another lopsided affair as the Netherlands defeated France 10-1 to take the minor medal.
OBERSAXEN, Switzerland – Home fans had plenty to cheer about on the super-combined day at the Europa Cup finals in Obersaxen, Switzerland on Tuesday. Thomas Pfyl and Christoph Kunz both won their events in one of the final events of the season.
Pfyl had finished third in the super-g but responded brilliantly to win the super-combined in the men’s standing classification. He was trailed by the super-g winner, Austrian Markus Salcher and was joined by team-mate Robin Cuche on the podium.
The other Swiss gold came in the men’s sitting as Kunz took the super-g run after finishing second in the slalom to claim the victory. Italian Rene de Silvestro took second after winning the slalom run with another Swiss skier in third with Murat Pelit claiming bronze.
Italian Melania Corradini got closer to claiming the women’s standing Europa Cup title claiming her second gold medal of the meet. There was another Swiss medal in the event with Bigna Schmidt winning silver and Spaniard Ursula Pueyo Marimon claimed bronze.
Joining Corradini with a perfect start to the meet was German Ruth Hagspiel who won the women’s sitting, beating Dutchwoman Barbara van Bergen.
France claimed the final gold of the day as Thomas Civade (Guide: Fabien Chambost) won the men’s vision impaired race.
TOKYO – Japan got off to a perfect start at the IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix on Wednesday, managing a win in the opener. They were joined in the winners circle by Argentina, to open the historic tournament, a first step on Japan’s road to the 2020 Paralympic Games which will also be hosted in Tokyo.
Japan took on England in the opening game of the tournament and got off to a perfect start opening the scoring in the 14th minute leading to optimism of a strong result. But that excitement was quickly extinguished as England managed through the appropriately named Dan English following a great run from his own half one minute later.
PYEONGCHANG, Republic of Korea – Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the 2018 Paralympic Games was saved for last when the United States managed a stunning 2-1 overtime victory against Canada in the Ice Hockey final at the Gagneung Hockey Center.
With 37 seconds to go in the game Canada seemed destined to win the gold medal, with the American goaltender pulled, Canada hit the post with less than a minute to go. But it all changed when Declan Farmer scored with just 37 seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime. Early into overtime Farmer came back again and scored the winning goal, defending the Americans title.
“It was an awesome feeling to tie it up and then to score the winner is like a kid’s dream. I owed it to the team too because I missed some chances. I had to make it up to them,” said Farmer after the game.
Things went as expected as Frenchwoman Marie Bochet claimed her fourth gold in the women’s standing classification. But Canadian Mollie Jepsen pushed the French legend all the way, taking silver after a thrilling Games for the teenager
The upset of the day came in the women’s vision impaired slalom as Slovakian Henrieta Farkasova seemed destined to claim her sweep of the alpine skiing events. But 19-year-old Briton Menna Fitzpatrick stunned the world, claiming the win, just the second ever British alpine skiing gold medal, denying Farkasova’s pursuit of perfection, claiming her fourth medal.
In the cross country, the final event was the popular mixed team event which was taken out by Ukraine, with France winning the open relay to finish fourth in the overall medal table.
The United States ended up winning on the overall medal table thanks to 13 gold, 15 silver, and eight bronze medals. NPA just edged out the Canadians for second with the two tied on eight gold medals NPA’s 10 silver medals compared to Canada’s four saw the NPA take second, relegating the Canadians to third.
It was a tight finish with Sin fighting against American Daniel Cnossen, leading by just two seconds in the final kilometer. But the Korean, backed by a raucous home crowd didn’t back down and pulled off the win to claim the historic gold.
PYEONGCHANG, Republic of Korea – After missing out on gold four years ago by just 0.7 of a second, Canadian Mark Arendz finally got his gold medal as he won the men’s biathlon 15km standing on Friday at the 2018 Paralympic Games in Korea.
Arendz was determined to not miss out this time and he took control of the race, cruising to the victory, obliterating the field. Arendz won by almost a minute, finishing 58.3 seconds ahead of Frenchman Benjamin Daviet.
“That 0.7 has been driving my training for four years. It’s a small thing that made a big impact over the last four years and finally to put it together here, to get that gold and by a fair margin too, that means everything. Everything has come together finally,” said Arendz after winning.
Four of the other five golds in the last day of biathlon competition were split between Germany and the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA). Germany took the two sitting events while NPA claimed the women’s standing and visually impaired events.
Andrea Eskau continued her impressive career, winning her third Paralympic gold in the women’s sitting. Germany swept the sitting events as Martin Fegg was at the opposite end of his career, winning his first career Paralympic medal in the men’s event.
The women’s standing saw an NPA one-two as Anna Milenina claimed the win ahead of team mate Ekaterina Rumyantseva. A second NPA gold came in the women’s visually impaired as Mikhalina Lysova (Guide: Alexey Ivanov) claimed her fourth career biathlon gold.
Bibian Mentel-Spee continued her remarkable come back in what is likely to be her last Paralympic Games as she won her second gold of the Games in the women’s snowboard banked slalom SB-LL2. Mentel-Spee beat American Brittani Court, putting down an unassailable time after finishing third in the first run.
“I’m going to take it easy for a little while. These are probably my last Games. I might do a couple more competitions but probably not any more Games,” said Mentel-Spee.”[I hope to stay involved] just to bring it further and hopefully inspire a lot of kids out there with a physical disability to come out and play this wonderful sport.”
Joining Mentel-Spee in the snowboard sweeps was American Brenna Huckaby as she claimed the women’s snowboard banked slalom SB-LL1. That was the first of three American gold medals in the snowboard banked slalom as the men’s SB-UL was claimed by Mike Minor while Noah Elliott won the SB-LL1. Japan won its first ever snowboard gold medal as Narita Gurimu claimed the win in the men’s SB-LL2 with a stunning run.
There was a stunning result in the first wheelchair curling semi-final as Canada found themselves on the losing end against China. The win guarantees China its first Winter Paralympics medal, and overturned the result in the round robin.
The other semi-final saw a heartbreaking finish for the hosts as Norway edged Korea Republic in extra ends following a 6-6 score line after eight. Nerves just took over the Koreans at the death and it cost them dearly as Norway guaranteed itself a medal.