by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Competing in the same category as in Rio de Janeiro, Joo Youngdae is the top seed, a situation that is also the lot of colleagues Cha Sooyong and Kang Oejeong.
Likewise both were medallists at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games; Cha Sooyong won silver in Men’s Team Class 1-2; Kang Oejong secured bronze in Women’s Team Class 4-5.
Notable names on duty from Korea; it is the same from Japan.
In the Men’s Singles events, Hideo Tamai is the top seed in Class 8, Takeshi Takemori heads the list in Class 11; in the Women’s Singles competitions; Japan also has the Class 11 top seed. Sayurio Mio is the leading name. Hideo Tamai clinched Men’s Singles Class 8 gold in 2016 in Indonesia, Takeshi Takemori secured the top prize in 2014 at the Asian Para Games, Sayurio Mio won silver earlier this year in Slovenia.
Also, there is strong representation from Thailand and South Africa. Representing the former Wanchai Chaiwut is the top seed in Men’s Singles Class 4; for the latter, Theo Gogill leads the list in Class 9-10.
Earlier this year in partnership with Niyom Nachai, Wanchai Chaiwut was a bronze medallist in Men’s Class 4 at the 2017 World Team Championships; furthermore, he has a liking for Taichung. In 2015 he won the Men’s Singles Class 4 title. Theo Cogill has yet to assert himself internationally but in 2015 he was a bronze medallist in Men’s Singles Class 9-10 at the African Para Championships.
However, it is from Germany that arguably the strongest challenge emanates.
In the Men’s Singles events, Thomas Schmidberger is the top seed in Class 3; in Class 6-7 it is Jochen Wollmert; meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles competitions, Juliane Wolf is the top name in Class 7-8.
Impressively, Thomas Schmidberger was a silver medallist in Rio de Janeiro; Jochen Wollmert won the Men’s Singles Class 7 title at the Paralympic Games in 2000, 2008 and 2012, Juliane Wolf was the Class 8 silver medallist at the 2015 European Para Championships.
It is powerful opposition for the hosts but there are prominent names on duty from Chinese Taipei. Cheng Ming-Chih, gold medallist in Men’s Class 5 at the recent 2017 World Team Championships in harness with Lin Yen-Hung, is the top seed in the same category in Taichung; pertinently Lin Yen-Hung is also on duty.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles events, gold medallist in Class 7-10 in Taichung two years ago, Tian Shiau-Wen is the top seed in Class 9-10.
A total of 66 men and 30 men will compete in Taichung; they represent the associations of Australia, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Philippines, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
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