Korea swept the top three medals in the men’s singles Class 1 table tennis at the Summer Paralympics in Tokyo on Monday.
According to the classification system set by the International Table Tennis Federation for Paralympians, “Classes 1-5 are for those in wheelchairs and classes 6-10 for those who have disabilities that allow them to play standing.”
Joo Young-dae won gold, Kim Hyeon-uk silver and Nam Ki-won bronze. Nam tied for bronze with British player Thomas Matthews. Joo’s top-podium finish was also Korea’s first gold medal at this year’s Paralympics.
Joo injured the lower half of his body in a car accident in 1994. He was so frustrated that he isolated himself at home, but eventually began to overcome his depression after sharing his pain with other disabled people online.
He started playing table tennis in 2008 while working as a web designer and represented Korea at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon.
Silver medalist Kim took up table tennis after a fall in 2011 left him disabled, while bronze medalist Nam spent more than 10 years in bed after a car accident in 1986.
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