Van Emburgh and Sarand Medal in Spain
by Joshua Dyke
The U.S. Para Table Tennis Team earned three medals on their trip to Platja d'Aro, Spain, at the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2022, including two gold and one silver medal.
Jenson Van Emburgh swept the Men’s Singles Class 3 event as he avoided losing a single game in all his matches. On the way to his gold medal, Van Emburgh defeated Croatian Paralympian Petr Svatos in the group stages, World #20 Colin Judge in the semi-finals, and finished his finals run against Poland’s World #12 Maciej Nalepka.
Jenson Van Emburgh on his medal victory, "It felt like a big relief once I won the Singles gold medal! Just because it was the first time I was the top seed at the tournament and I was the person to beat at the tournament. For the Doubles gold, I was really happy. Especially for my doubles partner Ahad as he really wanted the gold medal and we got it! Ahad and I are a really great doubles team so I can’t wait for what we can achieve in the future."
Ahad Sarand had an impressive finish in Men’s Singles Class 5, rounding out the event with a silver medal after defeating World #9 Ki-young Kim from the Korea Republic in the group stages and World #13 Belgium’s Bart Brands in the semi-finals.
Van Emburgh and Sarand joined forces in the Men’s Doubles Class MW8 – where two partners' classes may only total up to eight. The U.S. Para Doubles Team defeated France's Alexandre Delarque and Croatia’s Tomislav Spalj, 3 – 1 (11–2, 11–8, and 11–9) for the decisive gold medal victory.
Van Emburgh touched on what has led to his recent successes on the table, "I attribute many things to my success at the Costa Brava Spanish Para Open. Firstly, my mom that travels with me everywhere I go and has been at my side throughout my table tennis career. My coach Vlad Fărcaș that works with me on a daily basis and I couldn’t ask for a better coach than him. Lastly, everyone else that has supported me throughout my career. It means so much all the support that I receive and I definitely feel it!"
Congratulations to the U.S. Para Table Tennis Team members who also represented the United States at the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2022. Zachary Wentz, Marco Makkar, Raymond Sacco, Zachary Pickett, and Samuel Altshuler.
The upcoming ITTF events featuring the U.S. Para Table Tennis Team athletes are France and Slovenia in May 2022 and Mexico in June 2022. To close out the first half of the year, the athletes will attend the 2022 U.S. Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas.