Silver Medal for Paralympics Team Table Tennis

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Croatian table tennis players Anđela Mužinić and Helena Dretar Karić have won the silver medal in the team competition at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

Croatian table tennis players Anđela Mužinić and Helena Dretar Karić have won the silver medal in the team competition at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after losing to China in the finals 0-2, Jutarnji List reported on September 17, 2016.

Dretar Karić (36) and Mužinić (43), who compete in wheelchairs in categories 1-3, failed to achieve a feat against Chinese Juan Xue and Qian Li who won gold and silver in individual competition.

The Chinese celebrated in the first pairs match with 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-4), followed by Li defeating Mužinić in singles with 3-1 (3-11, 5-11, 13-11, 5-11).

“We spent ourselves in the semi-final match against Korea, we were tired. Realistically they are stronger than us, they kept the pressure up and we couldn’t fight them. In the end we lost, but if somebody had told me before this trip that I would win the silver in the Paralympics, I would take that right away,” said Mužinić, while Dretar Karić added: “Unfortunately, we didn’t put up a fight in the finals. But, we are overjoyed over this medal. I was hoping for the bronze ahead of the Games, but in the end it is silver. I will try to put this final behind me soon and celebrate the second place.”

By winning the silver medal Anđela and Helena wrote Croatian sport history for disabled persons as the winners of the first team medal at the Paralympics. All previous medals had been won in individual competition.

“We didn’t know this information and we are happy about it. We prepared for a long time for this result and made a great success,” added the Split native.

Anđela trained volleyball until she was 13. However, after a traffic accident in 2006 she ended up in a wheelchair. A similar fate happened to Helena who was a talented handball player of Koka from Varaždin, being injured as a pedestrian when she was 17, confined to a wheelchair since.

Their first joint success was at the European Championship in Split in 2011 where they won the team bronze. Two years later at the European Championship in Lignano they won gold. Together they also won the bronze in 2014 at the World Championship in Beijing, while at the last European Championship in Danish Vejle they won gold without a lost set. In Rio they made the result of their careers.

“I am proud of the girls, but also of the entire national team. This was a match over which the girls won’t be sad over for long. After winning against Korea and entering the finals they were physically and mentally empty, and against the Chinese you have to play above your abilities,” said team coach Mirela Šikoronja.

Selector Emil Gubica added that the Croatian table tennis team in Rio made a great success by winning two medals . gold by Sandra Paović and the team silver by Anđela Mužinić and Helena Dretar Karić.

“We are all overjoyed. We have won the gold and silver in table tennis which is a huge success, our biggest to date. These are first medals for Croatian table tennis at the Paralympics, but also the first team medal for Croatia in Paralympics in general. The girls worked and trained hard, with tough training and they deserve this success,” said selector Gubica.


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