17 May 2017

Gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and again in 2012 in London; at the 2017 World Para Championships in the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava, Jan Riapos is both player and the man at helm of the tournament.

Yet despite the barrage of questions he has to answer, the consistent ring of the mobile phone, he maintains his composure, as with the utmost good manners and a kindly smile, he welcomes his guests to the country of his birth.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Jan Riapos hails from Brezno, about a two and a half hour drive from Bratislava; it is the area of the country where the pure Slovakian language is spoken, as opposed to when you approach the borders, the accents are more pronounced as influence from neighbouring countries has an effect.

Furthermore, the region is known as the “Heart of Slovakia”; in Bratislava Jan Riapos is the “Heart of the 2017 World Para Championships”; he is the beating heart.

“As both a player and tournament director, there’s lots of work to prepare prior to the tournament but as a professional players for 24 years and also being on the Board, I have assisted in hosting many tournaments the past few years. Sport is my philosophy, so that was my main motivation to host the Para World Para Championships. Table tennis is very popular in Slovakia and hosting the Para World Championships will allow more players to experience world class tournament. “ Jan Riapos

Moreover, he fulfils another vital role. He is an ambassador for what can be considered one of the world’s youngest countries; on Friday 1st January 1993, in what of often referred to as the “Velvet Revolution”, the former Czechoslovakia separated into to independent nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

“I was most pleased with the Opening Ceremony yesterday, especially with the presence of Thomas Weikert, ITTF President and Presidents of the various National Para Committees. It gives a good impression of the Organising Committee and also the Para Committee. The Para World Championships is an event of great importance. Hosting it in Bratislava will open the city to more young people in the world as it is one of the youngest capitals in Europe but with a rich history.” Jan Riapos

A successful start to the tournament and also on Wednesday 17th May, there was a successful start in the playing arena for Jan Riapos; partnering Martin Ludrvovsky, the colleague with whom he finished in an agonising fourth place in Rio de Janeiro, there was success.

In their opening fixture in Men’s Team Class 2, the duo accounted for the Serbian pairing of Goran Perlic and Vladan Petkovic by two matches to nil.

The doubles was secured in three straight games (14-12, 11-6, 12-10), before Martin Ludrvovsky overcame Goran Perlic (11-7, 11-3, 11-6) to end matters.

 Day One: 2017 World Para Championships
Photos: Richard Kalocsai

2017 World Para Team Championships: Draw and Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2017 Para World Team Championships Jan Riapos

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