Paddlers Anurak and Wittaya demolish rivals to win gold
If dropping the third set after holding a 2-0 lead had bothered them in the least, Thai table tennis players Anurak Laowong and Wittaya Wichai certainly did not show it.
They remained a picture of calm throughout their men's Team Class 1-3 final yesterday, recovering to beat Indonesians Cahyo Pambudi and Sefrianto 3-1 (11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-2) to take the gold.
Wittaya, who took several selfies with his gold medal after the victory ceremony, was delighted.
Speaking through a translator, the 49-year-old said: "The match was not difficult, but I had some problems with my right finger.
"So, I have to try and rest for my next match, which is tomorrow."
Anurak admitted to feeling "some pressure" during the match.
"It's a final after all, and many people were focusing on me," said Anurak, 33. "I just tried to smile a bit and relax."
The Thais won three out of the nine golds on offer yesterday at the OCBC Arena.
Chalermpong Punpoo and Rungroj Thainiyom won the men's Class 6-7 doubles gold, while Dararat Asayut and Wijittra Jaion won the women's Class 1-5 doubles gold.
Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Hoa Phuong and Viet Thi Kim Van bagged the women's Class 10 doubles gold.
Powerhouses Indonesia swept five golds - a feat which head coach Rima Ferdianto said was "beyond expectations".
Rima, who has been coaching Indonesia's para-table tennis team for six years, said: "I targeted just three golds today but, in the end, we won five. Our team played very well.
"Of course, there is pressure, but the players released that pressure more quickly today than yesterday.
"I wanted to aim for just five medals tomorrow but, after I saw how well our athletes performed today, I think I can set a target of seven medals."
Local paddlers Harrison Gan and Mu Yu Guang clinched the joint bronze medal in the men's Team Class 10 doubles event to win Singapore's only medal in table tennis yesterday.
- NICOLE CHIA