Upsetting the odds, but one step short of a precious medal

Creditable wins but just one step short of a podium place was the lot of Australia’s Trevor Hirth and Nathan Pellissier at the ITTF Montenegro Para Championships 2023, staged in Podgorica from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 May.

Alas, for the third member of the team, Lennard Properjohn, there will be better times.

Contrary to expectations, both Trevor Hirth and Nathan Pellissier finished in first positions in their respective men’s singles groups, each departing proceedings at quarter-final stage – Trevor Hirth in men’s singles class 6, and Nathan Pellissier in men’s singles class 8.

Impressively, Trevor Hirth accounted for Italy’s Marco Bove (11-5, 11-9, 11-5), before overcoming Romania’s Bobi Simion, the no.2 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-7) – top spot in the group was gained courtesy of success in opposition to Kazakhstan’s Kanat Ussenov (11-1, 11-0, 11-4).

A direct entry to the last eight was the reward, further progress being halted by China’s Chen Chao (11-4, 11-9, 11-8), alongside colleagues Liao Keli and Yan Shuo, gold medallist in the men’s team class 6-7 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. One round later, Chen Chao was beaten by Chile’s Ignacio Torres (12-10, 11-7, 11-9), the champion elect.

Upsetting the order of merit, Nathan Pellissier did the same. He beat Israel’s Zeev Glickman, the no.5 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9), after having overcome Serbia’s Srdan Scekic (11-4, 11-2, 11-1) in his opening encounter.

Form maintained, Nathan Pellissier accounted for Germany’s Jan Reining (11-9, 11-7, 11-9) to reserve his main draw place. Progress continued, in round one he defeated Norway’s Pablo Jacobsen (11-4, 11-7, 11-7) to reserve his quarter-final berth.  China’s Peng Weinan, the eventual runner up and bronze medallist in Tokyo, halted adventures (11-4, 11-7, 11-7).

Somewhat differently for Lennard Properjohn, it was third place in the initial phase group and thus no progress to the main draw. He beat Serbia’s Nemanja Majkovic (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2) but lost to Chile’s Matias Pino (11-6, 11-3, 12-10) and China’s Hunang Jiaxin (11-6, 11-4, 11-3).

It was unfortunately no different in men’s doubles class 14 with all three Australians being drawn in the same group. Nathan Pellissier and Lennard Properjohn finished in third position, Trevor Hirth in harness with Finland’s Aaro Makela, one place lower.  Thus, there were no main draw places – Ignacio Torres and Matias Pino topped the group ahead of Jean-Paul Montanus and Dustin Eier from the Netherlands.


Article adapted from the ITTF-Oceania website.