The French table tennis player, defending champion, won a new Paralympic title on Monday, bringing at the same time a fourth gold medal for France.
French table tennis was only waiting for gold at the Paralympic Games, having already won two silver and four bronze medals in the previous two days. This one finally came on Monday. Table tennis player Fabien Lamirault thus offered his fourth gold medal to the French team by winning the final of the Class 2 individual table tennis tournament. The French, reigning Paralympic champion, defeated the Polish Rafal Czuper (3-2) in a remake of the Rio 2016 final. A real joy for him against an opponent he knew on the back of the racket: “In my head for the moment, I feel a big tiredness. The whole day has been exhausting, but on arrival there is a huge satisfaction because I had come there for it. I worked hard to keep this title and I am relieved that I did. This is the fifth international grand final that I face him and we knew each other by heart. He worked really well because the previous finals had been easier for me. This means that in the future, other great confrontations await us.»
Thus, if this final ideally started with a first set quickly in his pocket for Fabien Lamirault (11 points to 6), the next one turned to an intense showdown, finally won by the Pole with a breath (14 points at 12). Not confused by this opposite fate, the Frenchman moved forward to pocket the next round with a masterful hand (11-5). But again, behind, Czuper refused to give in and won the right to play a tie-break (7-11). Not to doubt, Lamirault was in the lead and took three steps ahead before concluding on his second match point (11-9). For his third Games, at 41, Fabien Lamirault won his fifth Paralympic medal, the third individual. Paraplegic since a car accident in 1997, he discovered table tennis in a rehabilitation center. His second individual title brings the total of French medals to 27, one less than in Rio and just eight points from the goal of 35 podiums set before the Games. Fabien Lamirault is also in search of team gold, of which he is also the title holder.
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