Table tennis officially got underway in Rio this morning at 9:00 AM at Riocentro, Pavilion 3. The featured matches of the the first set involved Ukrainian Victor Didukh taking on Hungary’s Gyulo Zborai in sitting table tennis, and Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger going up against Romania’s Dacian Makszin in Class 3 pool play.
Didukh easily one his first set against the Hungarian, winning 11-5. He had an easier time of it in the second set, winning 11-4. Didukh has an above the knee leg amputation and plays one handed. In his other hand, he has a crutch. Zborai in contrast has a physical disability impacting his performance, but also largely played using one hand to return the ball. He had problems getting the ball over the net in many cases. The last match finished 11 – 3, as a result of Zborai’s performance appearing to fall apart.
Schmidberger also easily defeated his opponent in the first set, winning 11-2 in the first set before winning 11-3 in the second set. The German pulled ahead 0 – 6 in the third set before conceding his first point. He then dropped several more, with the score going to 5 – 8 in favor of Makszin. Schmidberger was able to hold on, winning 11 – 6.
In other matches, Spain’s Miguel Rodriguez Martinez went up against France’s Florian Merrien in a sitting class. The French player won the first set 11 – 3, lost the second 9 – 11, won the third 11 – 4, and kept things close in the third with the score being 7 – 4 and then 8 – 5. He pulled ahead by another point. The Spaniard battled back bringing the score 10 – 8. Merrien was eventually able to put the game away, winning 11 – 9. Australia’s Barak Mizrachi went down in straight sets against China’s Chao Qun Ye with scores of 11 – 2, 11 – 2 and 11 – 4.