Magic Max is two-time WCPP champ
Russia’s Maxim SHMYREV successfully defended his Matchroom Sport World Championship of Ping Pong title, coming through a pulsating final to defeat Nigeria’s Sule OLALEYE 3-2 at the Alexandra Palace. It was a culmination of two day’s incredible play from t
Russia’s Maxim SHMYREV successfully defended his Matchroom Sport World Championship of Ping Pong title, coming through a pulsating final to defeat Nigeria’s Sule OLALEYE 3-2 at the Alexandra Palace. It was a culmination of two day’s incredible play from the 41 year-old from Moscow who was never really extended until the 49 year-old Nigerian gave him all he could handle as they took the match a decider.
Using tradition sandpaper hardbats, the World Championship of Ping Pong is a throwback to the early days of table tennis and aims to catapult ping pong into the big league and onto the international television stage.
The match reached high levels intensity at times as both players hammered forehands across the table in an all-out assault. It could have gone either way but in the end it was the likeable SHMYREV who outlasted his opponent to add to the title he won in Las Vegas in 2011.
He won a gold medal, the magnificent trophy and a cheque for $20,000. “It was an unbelievably difficult final,” said a jubilant SHMYREV.
“It was in my mind about my friend who died last week. I was leading but my thoughts about my friend came to my mind and I lost a bit of concentration. I feel I was a little bit better than Sule but it was a difficult game”.
“I thought I had a chance because I have the experience as the defending champion. But everybody had a chance. It was a fantastic competition, it made a really good show and everything was fantastic and I will be back to defend my trophy next year,“ added the Russian.
For OLALEYE it was a case of so near and yet so far as he was just two points away from a magnificent victory before SHMYREV dashed his hopes. He received $10,000 for his efforts. “I really tried my best but I couldn’t finish it tonight. I could not have given any more than I did. I had to go for it, I went for it but there was nothing that I could do, he did well”.
“I really enjoyed this tournament, it was an unbelievable weekend. Next year I will try and win, but it is not easy because it is such a tough competition.”
SHMYREV had made his way to final with a 2-0 win over American Yugoslavian Ilija LUPULESKU which was his toughest match to date. That set him up for the championship match with Olaleye who dashed UK hopes with comprehensive win over Chris DORAN.
The first two quarter finals put paid to remaining Filipino hopes as SHMYREV had too much for Joseph Cruz in a 2-0 win. Then LUPULESKU won a belter against Richard GONZALES in a match where both players gave everything.
In the bottom half of the draw, there were mixed fortunes for the remaining two players left in the event. Summer Olympic hope Andrew BAGGALEY finally succumbed after an excellent run as he was beaten in two sets by top Nigerian Sule OLALEYE.
Then Chris DORAN set the home crowd on fire as he put paid to Dutch hopes with a 2-0 victory over Martin GROENEWALD.
Semi-Final Results - Maxim SHMYREV (RUS) 2-0 Ilija LUPULESKU (USA) 11-5, 13-11 Sule OLALEYE (NIG) 2-0 Chris DORAN (ENG) 11-8, 11-1 Losers receive $5,000
Quarter Final Results - Maxim SHMYREV (RUS) 2-0 Joseph CRUZ (PHI) 11-8, 11-5 Ilija LUPULESKU (USA) 2-1 Richard GONZALES (PHI) 12-10, 7-11, 11-9 Sule OLALEYE (NIG) 2-0 Andrew BAGGALEY (ENG) 11-7, 11-6 Chris DORAN (ENG) 2-0 Martin GROENEWALD (NED) 14-12, 11-9. Losers receive $3,000
Photo: Maxim SHMYREV