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Australian Paralympic tennis champion Dylan Alcott has been hailed by fans after a wonderful post-match moment with a rival player that embodies what Olympic spirit is all about.
Alcott - a Paralympic champion in both wheelchair basketball and tennis - put himself in line for another gold medal in Tokyo after beating Dutch teenager Niels Vink in a marathon three-set semi-final.
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The 30-year-old won through to the Tokyo decider courtesy of a nail-biting 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over an 18-year-old player who proved that he'll be a star of the future.
Alcott also won the Australian Open and French Open titles in 2021 and will be a strong favourite to claim the US Open after the Paralympics.
The popular Aussie let out a roar of delight that showed just how much the semi-final victory in Tokyo meant to him but it was his next actions that captured the hearts and minds of viewers around the world.
Alcott had already sent a special message to Vink for his 18th birthday before the Games, and the Aussie showed his class on the court with a truly magical moment of sportsmanship.
Going over to congratulate his rival after the thrilling semi-final performance, Alcott and Vink shared a lengthy embrace that left one Paralympics commentator particularly emotional.
“Great show of sportsmanship that is from both of them,” she said.
“Huge amount of respect there. It’s making me come to tears here. What a great, great show of sportsmanship.”
The two players hugged each other for several moments, with Alcott patting his shattered young opponent on the back and offering some sage advice for the prodigious talent.
Alcott revealed in an interview afterwards just what he'd said to Vink during that magical moment.
“He’s half my age, what a little legend he is, Niels,” said Alcott.
“I know he read my book growing up. I sent him a birthday video for his 18th (birthday). We’re mates.
“When I hugged him at the end he was in tears. He wouldn’t let go and I just said I was so proud of him, how well he played.
“I’m just so proud of him.”
— 7Sport (@7Sport) August 31, 2021
Moment of sportsmanship melts hearts
Alcott told Channel Seven that it was the "best match he's ever been part of", and his wonderful moment of sportsmanship left viewers singing his praises.
“Incredible scenes of sportsmanship, emotion & respect in the Paralympics wheelchair tennis semi final as Aussie Dylan Alcott shared an emotional embrace with young opponent Niels Vink after a titanic back and forth struggle,” New Zealand journalist Patrick Skene wrote on Twitter.
Aussie commentator Brenton Speed also described it as one of the most memorable moments the Olympic movement has witnessed this year and many others agreed.
“This is the moment @DylanAlcott knew he’d played in an epic semi against such an impressive young gun,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Top 10 sporting moment in Tokyo over past 2 months! #beautiful.”
Brilliant match and fantastic scenes as @DylanAlcott embraces 18 year old Niels Vink after beating him in the semi-final. Looks like the kid will test him big time in the future. Golden Slam still on. #Paralympics
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) August 31, 2021
— Georgie Tunny (@georgie_tunny) August 31, 2021
— Anonymous Sewer Rat (@AnonymousSewer) September 1, 2021
Impossible to not love the guy and what he does for his sport.
Incredible amount of respect I have for him.
— Matt Back (@MattNotFront) August 31, 2021
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