by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The record speaks for itself; no player on duty in Sant Cugat de Valles can match the achievements of Kelly van Zon but there are most worthy names on duty.
In the Women’s Singles events, in Class 1-2, Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva, European champion on three consecutive occasions starting in 2013 is present, as in Class 3-5 is Thailand’s Wijittra Jaion, bronze medallists in Class 4-5 at the 2015 Asian Para Championships.
Also, worthy of note is Norway’s Aida Dahlen, crowned European champion in both 2015 and 2017; she is the leading name in Class 8. Also note the names of two Romanians, Gabriela Constantin, silver medallist last year in the Czech Republic, heads Class 6, Iona-Monica Tepelea is the leading name in Class 9-10. Only 18 years old, she was a silver medallist in Class 10 at the 2017 European Para Games.
Meanwhile in the Men’s Singles event, the host nation’s Iker Sastre defends his Class 1-2 title, whilst colleague, Roberto Rodriguez, heads the Class 3 entry, earlier this year he was a silver medallist in Slovakia.
Similarly, Slovakia’s Boris Travnicek is the leading name in Class 4; Brazil’s Claudiomiro Segatta heads the Class 5 entry. Earlier this year Boris Travnicek won bronze in Italy, in 2015 Claudiomiro Segatta was a gold medallist at the Pan American Para Games.
Equally in the Men’s Singles Standing Classes there are most notable names in action.
Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom, gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games is present in Class 6 as are a host of European champions. Winner in 2011, Sweden’s Emil Andersson competes in Class 8; gold medallists in 2015, Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands is present in Class 7, as is Russia’s Iurii Nozdrunov in Class 9.
Yet to reach such heights but a bronze medallist in Slovenia earlier this year, Bas Hegerlink of the Netherlands heads Class 10.
Notable names, in Class 11, the category for players with learning disabilities there is a chance for a player to make a name for themselves; France leads the list. Anthony Zhao is the top name in the Men’s Singles event, for the Women it is Lea Ferney.
The Spanish Para Open is a Factor 20 event for ranking purposes.
2018 Spanish Para Open: Latest Results and Draws