Peter Genyn breaks Paralympic record for gold


Another table tennis gold and a record-breaking 100m race by Peter Genyn bring Belgium’s total medals up to four in the Paralympic Games in Rio

‘I took a lot of risks’

Two more Flemish athletes have won gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as table tennis player Florian Van Acker and wheelchair racer Peter Genyn won their classifications. Genyn was competing in the 100m and broke the Paralympic record with a time of 21.15.

Genyn (pictured) was the favourite in the T51 classification; the 39-year-old from Kalmthout was 2015 world champion in the 100 and 400m. Genyn, who was part of Belgium’s wheelchair rugby team in the 2004 and 2012 Paralympics, has tetraplegia, meaning he has partial to full loss of motor skills in all four limbs.

Although the stress before yesterday’s race got to him, he said, “it all went perfectly. I didn’t miss any strokes”. Genyn will race in the 400m this coming weekend. “I’m also the favourite there, so I hope I’m less stressed out. Belgium has a fantastic delegation here in Rio. The athletes are really there for each other.”

Van Acker, meanchile, was competing in the singles Class 11, reserved for those with a mental disability. He beat his final opponent, Australian Simon Von Einem, in a heavily disputed 3-2 win, with games going 11-8, 16-18, 11-13, 11-5 and 11-8. “I couldn’t play well because of the stress; I was nervous the whole time,” said the 19-year-old. “I took a lot of risks, but luckily it all worked out well in the end.”

The latest medals bring Belgium’s total to four in the games: Table tennis player Laurens Devos picked up gold at the weekend in Class 9, while wheelchair racer Marieke Vervoort won silver in the 100m T52 classification at the weekend.

Photo: Benoit Doppagne/BELGA