Florian Van Acker won bronze in class 11 of the Tokyo Paralympic Games table tennis tournament on Saturday in Japan.
The 24-year-old Flemish table tennis player, 2nd in the world and defending champion, led 2 sets to 0 but ended up losing 3 sets to 2 (4-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11- 5) in the semi-finals against the Australian Samuel Philip of One, 3rd in the world.
Florian Van Acker had already complained about playing conditions after entering the running on Thursday. He once again pointed out the humidity of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. “Conditions are what they are“Says the 24-year-old Belgian table tennis player.”I have two sets in advance, I’m not bothered by the humidity, it was going very well. It started again from the 3rd set. I sent the ball into the net several times and got a little nervous. Wet conditions also played a role again. My opponent also started to play better, as I got frustrated. I tried to fix it but it didn’t help“.
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Sacred Paralympic champion in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Florian Van Acker will therefore not retain its title. “I’m disappointed“, he said.”I have always won against this opponent. But I repeat: we are in Japan, the wettest country in the world. Today, I lose because of the circumstances. It’s like that. I only reached my normal level in the first two sets“.
Van Acker therefore leaves Japan with the bronze medal, as there is no match for 3rd place in the table tennis tournament. This is the 4th medal for the Belgian delegation in Tokyo. The first three were won on Thursday with the gold medal of Michele George, on Best of 8, in dressage (Grade V), and the bronze medals of Manon Claeys, on San Dior 2, also in dressage (Grade IV) and Griet Hoet and Annelies Mr. (driver) on the kilometer time trial in track cycling.