Paralympic Games: Laurens Devos wins gold in table tennis
By winning gold, the Belgian table tennis player confirms his status as world number one and has achieved the Rio-Tokyo Paralympic double aged just 21. Florian Van Acker won bronze.
In the final against the Australian Lin Ma, ranked 3rd in the world, Laurens Devos retained his Paralympic table tennis champion (class 9) title in Tokyo. The 21-year-old Belgian table tennis player, world number one and gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, won 3 sets to 1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3).
In disabled table tennis, competitions are organised into classes based on disability: wheelchair players are in classes 1 to 5, those with lower limb disabilities in classes 6 to 10 and those with intellectual disabilities in class 11.
The left-handed player from Oostmalle (Antwerp Province), who suffers from hemiplegia (partial paralysis of the body), has shown extraordinary commitment. After beginning to play table tennis at the age of 6, he then joined a sport-study section in Leuven at the age of 12, where he was the only disabled athlete.
Currently ranked fifth in Belgium and 221st in the world among able-bodied players, this 21-year-old table tennis player says he wants to continue working to achieve his ultimate dream: "It will still be too early for the Paris 2024 Games. So I think I should aim for the Los Angeles Games in 2028."
Another Belgian table tennis player, Florian Van Acker, won the bronze medal in class 11.