11 Oct 2019

Success at continental tournaments staged respectively in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Pan America, participation in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is assured; one further method of qualification is via the world ranking list prevalent next year on Tuesday 31st March.

Some 72 men and 28 women will secure places from that order; at the 2019 ITTF Para Finland Matti Launonen Memorial Open, which commenced in Lahti on Friday 11th October, there are valuable ranking points at stake.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The situation is particularly relevant for those players who had aspirations of gold at the recent European Para Championships in the Swedish city of Helsingborg but just missed out and had to settle for bronze.

In the women’s singles events Germany’s Sandra Mikolaschek is the top seed in class 4, as is Sweden’s Ingela Lundbäck in class 5. Likewise in the men’s singles competitions, the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek heads the list in class 2, as does Germany’s Thomas Brüchle in class 3. Meanwhile, in a similar manner, Great Britain’s David Wetherill tops the list in class 6, a situation that applies to Sweden’s Nicklas Westerberg in class 7, Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh in class 8.

Highest honour

Recent medallists and there are those who occupy the top seeded positions in the respective categories who have enjoyed receiving the very highest honour.

Gold medallist at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Slovakia’s Alena Kanova is on duty in women’s singles class 3 as in class 6 is Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko; likewise, in the women’s singles competitions, Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva is the top seed in class 1-2, a situation that colleague Victoriya Safonova occupies in class 7. Notably both were crowned European champions in 2013 and 2017, a distinction which also befell Nadejda Pushpasheva in 2015.

Similarly in the men’s singles events, there are most notable names on duty, Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk, gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, is the top seed in class 4, a situation that s also relevant to Indonesia’s David Jacobs in class 10, winner at the Asian Para Games in both 2014 and also in 2018.

Worthy names on duty, the tournament concludes on Sunday 13th October.

2019 ITTF Para Finland Open: 2019 ITTF Para Finland Open: Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2019 Finland Para Open Thomas Brüchle


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