by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Presently, 31 year old Claudio Massad is named at no.23 on the Men’s Class 10 World Rankings, having been as high as no.18 in January 2015.
Notably at the 2015 Para Pan American Games staged in Markham, Toronto, he was the silver medallist in Men’s Singles Class 10, losing to his compatriot, Carlos Carbinatti in the final, the player with whom he won the Men’s Team Class 9-10 title.
Likewise, Dario Neira has enjoyed similar success; his most notable triumphs being at the Pan American Championships staged in San José, Costa Rica in 2013.
Furthermore, the continental nature of the tournament was not the only similarity; also, he was a silver medallist in Men’s Singles Class 10 and just like Claudio Massad he was beaten in the final by Carlos Carbinatti.
Additionally, in Men’s Team Class 10 in Costa Rica, he was a bronze medallist in partnership with compatriot Hugo Quagliardi.
Now 27 years old, Dario Neira is listed at no.10 on the Men’s Class 10 World Ranking, the highest standing of his career.
Meanwhile, for the women, the name to note is that of Giselle Muñoz, like Dario Neira from Argentina.
On duty at the recent Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the 32 year old has host of Para Pan American titles to her credit.
In 2001 at the first Para Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, she won gold in both Women’s Singles Class 8 and Women’s Singles Open Standing; two years later in 2003 in Brasilia, she repeated the success. She won Women’s Singles Class 6-8 and defended successfully her Women’s Singles Open Standing title; more recently in 2013, she won Women’s Singles Class 6-7.
Currently she is listed at no.8 on the Women’s Class 7 World Rankings having been at no.1 in Class 8 in 2002.
A total of 51 players will compete in Santiago, the national associations represented are: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and the United States.