commitment . determination . success
Fourth place finish faboulous for Chan

(Sep. 13, 2016 - Rio de Janerio) – The future of table tennis in Canada is very bright after Vancouver, B.C.’s Stephanie Chan finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. It was the best ever finish for Canada in table tennis since Martha Johnson claimed bronze at the 1984 Stoke Mandeville Games. 

“It’s something I will never forget. A dream has come true,” said Chan at the conclusion of her match. 

Chan won her first game 14-12 before dropping the next three 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 and ultimately losing the match 3-1. Her opponent, Seong-Ok Kim of Korea went on to claim the bronze medal. 

“My family, the fans, they’re telling me go, go, go Canada. Just do it. I am so happy, so excited, I want to cry,” exclaimed Chan. 

At 59-years-of-age Chant entered the competition ranked tenth in her class. She fought through pain and adversity to demonstrate that she can compete with the best in the world. 

“Injury has been bothering her, but I said to her you have to park that. I said take a look around. End of the third game. Take a look around, whose playing. Oh wait, just you and your opponent and nobody else. You’re in this gym by yourself. It may never ever happen again. You’ve got to park that away and try really, really hard to put the pain in your knee away and play to your best level. I think she did,” said Chan’s coach John MacPherson. 

Chan said that her immediate plans were to celebrate with her family, and that potentially competing in Tokyo 2020 could be an option. In the meantime, MacPherson acknowledged that there was plenty of work to do in Canada to develop the next generation of talent. Nonetheless, he was encouraged that Chan’s performance was already becoming a catalyst for the growth and popularity of the sport.  

“We have had three or four replies already in my email from people in Canada who are wanting to play and that’s what’s important to me. We need to find new people,” said MacPherson. 

“This is my third well para and my fourth parapanams in total with Toronto and we have gotten more feedback from this then we have ever done with all the rest combined,” added MacPherson.

Day 4 

The day concluded with the Semi-final match between the #1 ranked Kelly van Zon from the Netherlands and our Canadian Paralympian Stephanie Chan from British Columbia. It was a 3-0 win for the Dutch Athlete, but after 2 sets could have gone either way.  

Coach John Macpherson analyzed the match “I was really happy with her first two games, but in the third game we tried to strategized and have her serve short and trying to pin her to her back hand because her forehand is her weapon and Stephanie for whatever reason, perhaps nerves or something kept serving long so she kept attacking off her serve. You know you’re in trouble when they’re exploiting your serve. So I think Stephanie just got a little excited and caught up in the moment a little bit and the third game was perhaps what one could expect when the other person is relaxed.” 

Stephanie Chan 

“It was very difficult; I haven’t played her this year so I just saw on the video how to play her. I almost beat her last year; it was very close. I was a little bit nervous because she played very well. I will do my best to win one medal for Canada. It is the first time Canada has gone to a semifinal and could win a medal.” 

“I will keep going because I think I can do it. I will go to 2020 Tokyo. [Age] does not matter, I like playing table tennis a lot.“ 

“I train myself everyday, I play able body because they don’t have another girl on the West Coast, so I play my friend every morning.“ 

“I started playing table tennis when I was 44 years old. I liked table tennis a lot when I was young playing in the hospital in Hong Kong. I saw people playing table tennis so I tried it and I liked it. Because it is only standing so I can move only my hands.”

John Macpherson  

She ranked 10th in the world and she beat the number 6 player in the world to get here, so yes it’s extremely good. To get to the medal round was the goal and we will see what happens on Tuesday with the bronze medal game. I think that there is a chance there, I really do and I mean that sincerely. 

Our mean age is probably somewhere between 50 and 55-60 so that’s old, in any sport. So the fact that we were able to go to 3 of the last 5 paralympics has been a testament to the players that we’ve had. But in terms of seeing sport develop, we absolutely have to train more for the best of development as soon as possible. 

I really do feel there is an opening here, she’s given herself an opportunity of a lifetime in terms of our sport. So we’re going to do whatever we can and to produce the best result possible. She knows exactly where she is, she knows the moment that she’s in. So we knows we aren’t going for gold of silver but we are going for bronze and this may be her only for a medal in her career so she’s not going to let that get away from her in terms of her medal preparation at all.  

“She’s improved 100% [since she started], I watched her to when she could barely get a ball back and had limitations in terms of her movement left and right and that’s been a problem. In fairness to Sport Canada and CPC, she’s working in Richmond at the Oval on her mobility. We’ve taken her to York training, Halifax for training, tournaments in Europe, so we’ve done everything we could possible to get ready for this. And I mean the results are there, she can finish no worse than fourth in the world and that’s a very good result regardless but we aren’t putting aside the pact that we aren’t giving up on a bronze just yet.” 

“Today and tomorrow are the gold and bronze medal rounds. Umpires are on relieve rotation. The athletes village has condominiums surrounding a very nice park”, Blue Badge Umpire Jeffrey Wong from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

Day 3 - Canada advances to medal round in Table Tennis

(Sep. 10, 2016 - Rio de Janerio) – Stephanie Chan of Vancouver, B.C. earned a berth into the medal round of women’s singles (class 7) table tennis after finishing round robin play with a 1-2 record. Despite losing to Korea’s Kim Seong-Ok in her final preliminary game on Saturday, thanks to a tie-breaker Chan finishes ranked second in pool B on the strength of the five wins she collected against her opponents through the first two days of competition. 

Chan will now play the winner of Pool A in the semi-final Sunday at 2:15pm BRT and depending on the outcome play for gold or bronze on Monday. 

“I am so happy. I have been training my mind to stay focused. To move more. To play my best. I am so very happy,” exclaimed Chan. 

“This has never happened before in able-bodied or para, so obviously it’s incredible. It brings back to mind that it’s not over until it’s over. It’s a round robin and things happen. People beat people because it’s closely contested and good things can happen,” said Head Coach John MacPherson. 

It took Seong-Ok, the number two ranked player in the world, five games to narrowly capture the 3-2 win over Chan in order to remain undefeated and finish first in their pool. Chan came out strong and won the first game 11-9. She dropped the next two games 11-4 and 11-1 before rallying in the fourth frame for the 12-10 win. The momentum did not last though as Seong-Ok easily took the last game 11-3. 

“I think it bodes well for Stephanie in her level. She deserves to be here. She was ranked 10th in the world and we now know she is not going to finish any worse than fourth, which is a huge, huge success,” added MacPherson.

Day 2
- Chan rallies to capture Canada's first Table Tennis win

(Sep. 9, 2016 - Rio de Janerio) – Stephanie Chan of Vancouver, B.C. made good on her second attempt to accomplish something that nobody else in modern Paralympic history has done by capturing a win in table tennis for Canada. Chan’s focus throughout just her second competition at the Paralympic Games allowed her to capitalize on her opponent’s mistakes and defeat France’s Anne Barneoud in an impressive sweep (11-8, 13-11, and 11-9). 

“I’m so excited and so very, very happy. I lost yesterday, but it gave me experience and it’s why I [won] today. I was up 2-0 and lost, so today I concentrated on how to play to win the game,” said Chan. 

The match tilted in Chan’s favour when her and Barneoud exchanged blows late in the second frame.  Barneoud’s comeback attempt was cut short when she committed a number of unforced errors that were ultimately capped off when she sent a return long. 

“I really felt we had it yesterday. She was really playing great. So today we really tried to slow this girl down. She wants to hit and we didn’t give her a chance to,” said Head Coach John MacPherson. 

With the score 10-9 in the last game, and with Chan needing just one more point to make history, her coach used his only timeout of the match. “I told Stephanie just get the ball back on the table and let her make the mistakes,” said MacPherson. “We have a real chance of advancing to the medal round and we are going to be ready.” 

Day 1 - Canada's Stephanie Chan comes within two points of first ever win in Paralympic Table Tennis

(Rio de Janerio) - In her Paralympic debut Stephanie Chan of Vancouver, B.C. came within two points of earning Canada’s first-ever win in Table Tennis at the Paralympic Games. Ten minutes in you’d hardly know Chan was a rookie as she quickly went up two game to none outscoring China’s Rui Wang 11-9 in consecutive games. Unfortunately for Chan, her opponent was able to rally in the third game and wrestle the momentum back long enough to take the next three games 5-11, 7-11, and 9-11 for the win (3-2).  

“We’ve never won a match at the Paralympics in table tennis and that’s as close as we’ve ever come,” said Head Coach John Macpherson.

Chan indicated that overall she was happy with her performance, but acknowledged that she was a bit nervous.

“I’m so happy because my family, my son, and my sister, and sister-in-law, came to cheer me up.  It is my first time being a Paralympian and I am so happy I am here to play table tennis,” said Chan. 

“I thought she played extremely well. I thought that she accorded herself extremely well on the table. [She] was a little nervous, but she knew that. She faulted twice. That’s nerves usually,” confirmed MacPherson.

Six points at the end of the third game, was the biggest lead that either player established but for the most part the score teetered by no more than three or four points in either direction – a testament to just how close Chan came to making history as the first table tennis athlete to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games since Ian Kent placed 12th in Beijing 2008. 

“We had a chance to win that one, it got a-way from us a little bit, but it’s encouraging for the next match,” added Macpherson. 

Group B preliminary action will continue Friday when Chan will face France’s Anne Barneoud at 4:40pm BRT.