by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The event is unique; the tournament caters for players of every conceivable ability; if you have a bat or if you can borrow one you can play. At the one end of the scale there are those who delight if they have returned the ball over the net; at the other extreme there are players who have competed at the very highest level.
It is four events in one; on the evening of Saturday 12th August, it is the Ostend Masters, over the years the crowds have gathered to watch the likes of Vladimir Samsonov, Chen Zhibin and of course their very own Jean-Michel Saive and Philippe Saive.
Later on Monday 14th August the two day Flanders Youth Cup commences alongside the Flanders Senior Cup.
Notably, Belgium’s two Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medallist will be competing, Laurens Devos will play in Class A, Florian Van Acker in Class B and Class A. Basically you play in your own Class and the one higher.
Most impressively 72 players will compete in Men’s Singles Class A, an event where there is a twist to the tale. Lose at the semi-final stage and you play in the final, win in the penultimate round and you progress to join the six invited players to compete in the Ostend Masters.
The six players invited are Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck and Robin Devos alongside Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, Germany’s Bastian Steger and Ukraine’s Kou Lei.
39th Flanders International Tournament: Schedule of Play (Commences Friday 11th August)
39th Flanders International Tournament: Entries – Ostend Masters & Class A