- Mao – Dahlen 3-0 (11-2, 11-3, 11-5)
Dahlen had already secured the medal, but the question was what metal it was. Because he faced strong opposition in Mao Jingdian’s Chinese. This was the world number one, so no doubt he was facing a very formidable task.
And it became too difficult for Dahlen. He lost all three sets, and it was never a whole. After the game, the southerner was in tears and clearly disappointed with his own game. He took bronze in the end.
– I don’t start my game, and he controls me. “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Dahlen told NRK.
Hard bone opening
He started hard, and it worked out the whole game. China won the first two sets very easily.
– It’s going too fast. I’m not early enough. I couldn’t unscrew it and he just pointed me where he wanted me to go. It hurts, quite simply, he said.
The table tennis player is still showing that he is happy to win a medal. But first he had to take the time to be disappointed.
– I may have to spend the day here, but it’s important that I have bronze. That’s fun, Dahlen said.
His offensive style of play doesn’t quite hold up today.
– When the match started, he was very determined and aggressive, and then I couldn’t keep up with him, and never managed to turn it in my favor. He swept me, Dahlen admits.
Coach Jan Bergersen said they were disappointed, but happy with the medal.
– We are proud that we managed to produce a medal in one of the biggest sports in the world and one of the biggest parade sports in the world, with the player base and culture that we have in Norway. That we have two players here who are on top of the world and fighting against the best in the whole world, that’s something we take and take pride in, Bergersen believes.
He said that Dahlen had a better level on the inside than what he showed today.
– The previous two games had shown that, and then it was a completely different match. When he lost the way he did today, it was hard to stand there, he said.
Bergersen believes there are two distinct types.
– They have two very different playing styles. Mao did not take big risks. Aida played with less margin and strength, said Bergersen.
Amazing in two sets
It was China who started clearly the best, and got a good advantage in the first set. Mao clearly won the first set, and it ended 11-2. Dahlen looked frustrated even then.
In the second set, Dahlen’s mistakes continued, while Mao looked very dominant.
– Every time he chooses to attack, mistakes come, NRK expert commentator Raymond Gonzales points out.
The second set ended 11-3.
But with the knife to his throat, he started better in the next set. He took the first two points in the third set. Dahlen held out for a long time, even though Mao took the lead. But it was too difficult in the end, and Dahlen took bronze, while Mao would play in the final.
Dahlen had silver and bronze at the World Cup, but he had never won a medal at the Paralympics before.
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