September 14, 2021

The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games saw 11 para athletes from Australia competing from the Oceania region. The athletes competed under different classifications in Men’s and Women’s Teams and Individual events.

Jake Ballestrino, Joel Coughlan, Trevor Hirth and Nathan Pellissier made their debut at the Games, building on experience from their previous international competitions and world championships.

Combining a wealth of experience, Danni Di Toro and Samuel von Einem were attending their second Paralympic Games. Danni had previously attended four Paralympic Games in wheelchair tennis winning multiple medals.

Rebecca Julian and Melissa Tapper were attending their third Paralympic Games. Melissa is the record holder for becoming the first Australian athlete to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016.

Representing Australia for the first time, Lin Ma, Qian Yang and Lina Lei are multiple Paralympic and World Championships medallists and moved to Melbourne from China and started representing their new country in 2019. Lin Ma is considered one of the best in the world, having won Gold medals in Class 9-10 Singles and Teams events at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games.

Together the team’s preparation, hard work and team spirit paid off and was reflected in their performance, where they produced a record-breaking medal count of 6 (2 golds, 4 silver).

Medal Highlights

Teams Event Class 9-10

Both the Men’s and Women’s team were on duty for the Gold medal match. The Women’s team consisted of Qian Yang, Lina Lei and Melissa Tapper. The team had a wealth of experience with Qian Yang and Lina Lei having won multiple medals at previous Paralympic Games. For Melissa Tapper it was her second Paralympic Games in addition to her Olympic debut back in Rio. The team performed outstandingly together overcoming Hungary and China en route to the final. The doubles match in the final against Poland went to the very last game with Australia losing by the narrowest margin. Next was a rematch between Natalia Partyka and Qian Yang, where Qian Yang had emerged as the winner in the Class 10 Singles semi-final. Natalia showed dominance and control, closing the match in 3 sets this time. Overall, the team had achieved the best ever result at a Paralympic Games by winning the Silver medal.

Qian YANG / Lina LEI (AUS) defeated Alexa SZVITACS / Zsofia ARLOY (HUN) 11-3, 11-7, 11-3
Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Alexa SZVITACS (HUN) 11-6, 11-3, 11-8

Qian YANG / Lina LEI (AUS) defeated Xiaojing ZHAO / Guiyan XIONG (CHN) 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8
Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Xiaojing ZHAO (CHN) 11-3, 14-12, 11-4

Natalia PARTYKA / Karolina PEK (POL) defeated Qian YANG / Lina LEI (AUS) 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9
NATALIA PARTYKA (POL) defeated Qian YANG (AUS) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5

The Men’s team had the combination of a Paralympic debut and experience. Joel Coughlan and Nathan Pellissier were both competing in their first Paralympics and the new Australian team member Lin Ma was attending his fourth Paralympic Games, having represented China in the previous three Games. Lin, a four-time gold medallist led the team to the final where they faced China. This was the first time since the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games that both the Men’s and Women’s team competed for the Gold medal at the Games.

Round of 16
Lin MA / Joel COUGHLAN (AUS) defeated Carlos Alberto CARBINATTI JUNIOR 11-4, 11-6, 11-5
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Carlos Alberto CARBINATTI JUNIOR 11-3, 11-5, 11-2

Lin MA / Joel COUGHLAN (AUS) defeated Mateo BOHEAS / Gilles de la BOURDONNAYE (FRA) 11-9 11-5, 11-8
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Mateo BOHEAS (FRA) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8

Lin MA / Joel COUGHLAN (AUS) defeated Tajudeen AGUNBIADE / Alabi OLUFEMI (NGR) 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Tajudeen AGUNBIADE (NGR) 11-8, 11-9, 11-3

Hao LIAN / Yi Qing Zhao (CHN) defeated Lin MA / Joel COUGHLAN (AUS) 11-3, 11-6, 11-9
Hao LIN (CHN) defeated Ma LIN (AUS) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6

Individual Events Highlights

All athletes competed in the singles events with performances to be proud of. One of the many highlights was Qian YANG taking the Gold medal in the Class 10 Women’s singles notably overcoming fellow teammate Melissa TAPPER and reigning Paralympic champion Natalia PARTYKA from Poland in the semi-final. In the final YANG overcame Bruna COSTA ALEXANDRE from Brazil 3-1.

Group Stage
Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Xiaojing ZHAO (CHN) 15-13, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3
Shiau Wen TIAN (TPE) defeated Qian YANG (AUS) 9-11, 11-13, 10-12
Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Faith OBAZUAYE (NGR) 11-9, 11-1, 11-3

Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Melissa TAPPER (AUS) 13-11, 11-3, 11-8

Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Natalia PARTYKA (POL) 11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9

Qian YANG (AUS) defeated Bruna COSTA ALEXANDRE 13-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9

Lina LEI competed in the Class 9 Women’s singles and also came away with a Gold medal, having come through two tough five game matches in both the semi-final against Alexa SZVITACS (HUN) and in the final, against Guiyan XIONG (CHN).

Group Stage
Li Na LEI (AUS) defeated Jennyfer MARQUES PPARINOS (BRA) 11-4, 11-8, 11-4
Li Na LEI (AUS) defeated Karolina PEK (POL) 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10
Li Na LEI (AUS) defeated Kun-Hea KIM (KOR) 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7

Li Na LEI (AUS) defeated Alexa SZVITACS (HUN) 12-14, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6

Li Na LEI (AUS) defeated Guiyan XIONG (CHN) 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5

Performing superbly throughout the Class 9 singles event, Lin Ma won a Silver medal after a tough battle against Laurens Devos from Belgium in the final. Lin Ma is now a five-time medallist in three Paralympic Games as well as holder of 11 Asian titles!

Group Stage
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Joshua STACEY (GBR) 11-3, 11-4, 11-6
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Mohamed KALEM (ITA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-9
Lin MA (AUS) defeated Chaoming CHEE (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7

Lin MA (AUS) defeated Lev KATS (UKR) 11-8, 11-7, 11-7

Lin MA (AUS) defeated Ivan MAI (UKR) 12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5

Laurens DEVOS (BEL) defeated Lin MA (AUS) 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3

In the Men’s Singles Class 11 Sam von Einem added another Silver medal to his collection and en route overcame strong opponents from Japan, Korea, Spain and Belgium. Notably in the semi-final Sam was 2 games behind and produced a turn around to win the match in 5 games. Sam had previously won a Silver in the Men’s Singles Class 11 in Rio 2016.

Group Stage
Takashi ASANO (JPN) defeated Samuel Philip von EINEM (AUS) 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6
Samuel Philip von EINEM (AUS) defeated Gi Tae KIM (KOR) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9

Samuel Philip von EINEM (AUS) defeated Eduardo CUESTA MARTINEZ (ESP) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9

Samuel Philip von EINEM (AUS) defeated Florian van ACKER (BEL) 4-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5

Peter PALOS (HUN) defeated Samuel Philip von EINEM (AUS) 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9

The entire team had a great team spirit supporting each of the 11 athletes with support from the team officials Sue Stevenson, Alois Rosario, Maggie Meng and Ross Pinder.

Find full results of the Australian Para team HERE.

Australian Para athletes:
Jake Ballestrino (VIC)
Joel Coughlan (QLD)
Danni Di Toro (VIC)
Trevor Hirth (VIC)
Rebecca Julian (VIC)
Lina Lei (VIC)
Lin Ma (VIC)
Nathan Pellissier (VIC)
Melissa Tapper (VIC)
Sam Von Einem (SA)
Qian Yang (VIC)

Team Officials:
Sue Stevenson
Alois Rosario
Maggie Meng
Ross Pinder