Tournaments

08 Aug 2019

Head shaved, holding a framed photo of his beloved king, a gold medal draped around his neck, on Sunday 2nd September in the ExCeL Arena at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the proudest man in the whole world was Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom.

The winner of men’s singles class 7 on that momentous day, he is very much the name on whom eyes will focus at the forthcoming 2019 ITTF Para Bangkok Open; play in the three day tournament commences on Thursday 8th August.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Good form in England’s capital city, more recently, less than two weeks ago he was also in good form; he emerged successful in Taichung, Chinese Taipei; he claimed gold at the 2019 Asian Para Championships.

Impressive, Rungroj Thainiyom is one of several players on duty in Bangkok who have this year made their presence felt. In Egypt, colleague Anurak Laowong (class 3) was a silver medallist, as was Malaysia’s Chee Chao Ming (class 9); one step higher Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands, struck gold.

All occupy top seeded positions in Bangkok as do two players, who like Rungroj Thainiyom have enjoyed Paralympic Games success, Korea Republic’s Joo Youngdae (class 1) was a silver medallist in Rio de Janeiro, the Czech Republic’s Ivan Karabec (class 10), struck gold in 2000 in Sydney.

Furthermore, Joo Youngdae has a title to his name this year; he won in Slovenia. Similarly, occupying the top seeded positions in the men’s singles events, Great Britain’s Billy Shilton (class 8) was a silver medallist in Poland, Korea Republic’s Lee Kyeonghun (class 4) enjoyed the same level of success in Spain. Somewhat differently, Korea Republic’s Jeong Kyuyoang (class 11) has not shared the same success rate this year but last year he won in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, occupying top seeded positions in the women’s singles events, Korea Republic’s Kang Oejeong (class 5) and Josephine Medina (class 8) of the Philippines are the names that stand out. Kang Oejeng was crowned World champion in 2008 in Lasko, Slovenia; Josephine Medina was a bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Josephine Medina is the leading name in class 7-8; other than men’s singles class 1-2, the only combined category.

Similarly, heading the order, Iraq’s Najlam Al-Deyyeni (class 6) was a silver medallist earlier this year at the Al-Watani Championships; Japan’s Nanako Hazeyama (class 11) secured bronze in 2018 in the Czech Republic.

Otherwise, it is to Asian Championships that we turn our eyes with regards to the leading female names. Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chin (class 4) was a silver medallist in 2018; earlier this year Thailand’s Chilchitraryak Bootwansirna (class 2) and Chinese Taipei’s Tian Shiau-Wen (class 10) won silver, whilst also from the host nation, Chayana Settisrikedkun (class 9) and Korea Republic’s Yoon Jiyu (class 3) claimed bronze.

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Day 3 - 2019 Para Table Tennis Bangkok Open