In additional to the approval of the two more medal events in the team competition, the IPC Governing Board has also approved ITTF’s request to remove the third-place play-off in all the medal events and award bronze to both the losing semi-finalists.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated: “This is fantastic news for the ITTF and the Para Table Tennis movement. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was hugely successful for us, with hundreds of millions of fans tuning in around the world to see our inspirational athletes. The IPC has rewarded this success with 37 more medals, which will surely act as a huge motivator for all our Para players leading into Tokyo 2020.”
Also, ITTF Executive Vice President responsible for Para Table Tennis Petra SÖRLING was equally pleased: “These extra medals are the result of hard work in co-operation with our former Para Table Tennis Division and are a testament to our amazing Para players who have overcome adversity to achieve incredible feats on the table and are an inspiration to all”.
With the new changes in place, 280 Para table tennis athletes are expected to compete in 31 events across different disability classes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games for a total of 124 medals, as compared to 87 medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
ITTF Secretary-General Raul CALIN added: “On the behalf of the ITTF, I would like to thank the IPC Governing Board and Mr Jürgen Padberg, Paralympic Games Sport Senior Manager for this decision. Para Table Tennis keeps growing in terms of participation and players’ skills, making everyday competition among players with different disabilities harder for those more impaired. Splitting the female team Class 6-10 event and men team competition into two groups (6-8 and 9-10 for women and 6-7 and 8 for men) will not only ensure more exciting matches, but will also allow those more disabled athletes to have real chances to be Paralympian medallists. At the same time, awarding two bronze medal matches will ensure exciting quarter-final matches, and a better showcase of the finals matches in the Paralympic Games.”