17 Oct 2017

A total of no less than 40 players on duty, 24 men and 16 women, China is a formidable force at the forthcoming 2017 Thailand Para Open.

Play commences in the National Sports Centre for the Disabled in Suphan Buri on Wednesday 18th October and concludes on Saturday 21st October.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Paralympic Games gold medallists, World champions and Asian champions are plentiful; leading the way for the men is Feng Pangfeng, in Class 3 the holder of all three titles, for the women it is Mao Jingdian, in Class 8, she is also the owner of the full set.

Likewise for the women, in Class 3 Li Qian and Xue Juan are both present, the respective gold and silver medallists in Rio de Janeiro; later, alongside Liu Jing, they were the Women’s Team Class 1-3 gold medal winners. Additionally, Li Qian is the reigning World Champion, Xue Juan the winner early this year at the Asian Para Championships in Beijing.

Major contenders for honours; it is the same for their female colleagues Zhang Miao and Zhou Ying. Competing in Class 4, Zhang Miao is the current World and Asian champion, having been the silver medallist in Rio de Janeiro; alongside Zhang Bian and Gu Gai, Zhou Ying struck gold in Women’s Team Class 4-5 in the Brazilian city.

Notable names and in the women’s events there are more; Liu Meng who won gold in Class 9 in Rio de Janeiro competes, as does Lei Lina the reigning World champion, the player Liu Meng beat in Paralympic Games final. Similarly in Class 9, Xiong Guiyan, the Asian champion is on duty as in Class 10 is Yang Qian, the Rio 2016 silver medallist.

Current champions abundant in the women’s events in Suphan Buri; it is very similar in the male competitions.

Additional to Fang Pangfeng, further Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Chinese national team medallists appear on the Thailand entry list. Gold medallists, Cao Ningning in Class 5 and Zhao Shuai in Class 9 are on duty, as is Zhai Xiang who partnered Fang Pangfeng to Men’s Team Class 3 gold. Also, Guo Xingyuan, silver medallist in Class 4 and Yan Shuo, bronze medal winner in Class 7, competes.

Furthermore, recently, competing in the same Class, Yan Shuo was crowned Asian champion in Beijing an honour also bestowed on the shoulders of Zhan Dashun in Class 5 and Zhao Yi Qing in Class 9.

A strong entry from China to say the least with Paralympic Games gold medallists plentiful; from other shores there are also names who have gained that distinction.

Notably the names of Slovakia’s Jan Riapos, Class 2; Germany’s Jochen Wollmert, Class 7 and most importantly from a host nation perspective, Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom, Class 6, all gold medallists in London in 2012 appear on the entry list.

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