02 May 2018

Staged just under one year ago in Bratislava, the first World Team Para Championships was universally acknowledged as a success, very much the man steering the ship was the host nation’s Jan Riapos.

Now once again, he is the man at the helm of proceedings; he is the Tournament Director for the forthcoming 2018 Slovakia Para Open. A Factor 40 tournament for world ranking purposes, staged in Bratislava, play commences on Thursday 3rd May and concludes on Sunday 6th May.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Moreover, last year he was both player and official; furthermore, he did rather well; partnering colleague, Martin Ludrovsky, the pair won the Men’s Team Class 2 title.

Notably in the final, the duo overcame the French pairing of Fabian Lamirault and Stéphane Molliens, the Men’s Team Class 1-2 Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medallist; a two matches to nil score-line was the result with Jan Riapos beating Fabien Lamirault to seal the victory.

Once again, the name of Jan Riapos appears on the entry list and he could well once again face Fabian Lamirault, the Frenchman is also on duty in Bratislava. On the current Men’s Class 2 World Rankings, Fabian Lamirault heads the list, Jan Riapos is the next in line.

Now 49 years old, Jan Riapos has a host of titles to his credit, seven times European champion; gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games as well as four years later in Beijing and in 2012 in London.

Outstanding achievements but the mark of true sportsman is in defeat; at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, he was beaten by the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Class 2 event, before in the Men’s Class 1-2 Team event finishing in what is surely the worst place of all.

Partnering Martin Ludrovsky, the duo experienced two-one defeat in the bronze medals fixture when facing the host nation’s Iranildo Espindola and Guilherme Marcio da Costa. Jan Riapos recorded the one Slovakian win when beating Guilherme Marcio da Costa.

The whole of the stadium was going crazy supporting their own for the European pair it was desolation, so near yet to a medal but so far. Yet Jan Riapos smiled, congratulated his opponents and left the stadium in dignity; that is the mark of a true sportsman.

Notably in addition to Fabian Lamirault, Jiri Suchanek, Iranildo Espindola and Guilherme Marcio da Costa are all competing in Bratislava. Will Jan Riapos be seeking revenge? He will not think in that manner, he will be looking forward to pitting his skills against most worthy opponents.

Most importantly, he will be delighted to welcome his fellow athletes to Bratislava in the name of sport, in the name of competition and most importantly in the name of friendship.

2018 Slovakia Para Open: Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis