01 Nov 2019

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is now less than ten months distant, one could be excused for thinking it has been brought forward ten months.

No less than 12 players who secured gold medals, six men and six women, at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are named on the entry list for the forthcoming 2019 Dutch Para Open; play commences in Stadskanaal on Friday 1st November.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

On the men’s entry the names of China’s Feng Penfeng, one of the greatest of all, competes in class 3, not only did he win in Rio de Janeiro, in addition he succeeded in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London. Furthermore, he is the reigning World and Asian champion.

Likewise from China, Cao Ninging will be on duty in class 5, as will Zhao Shuai in class 8. Meanwhile, from Europe, Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk competes in class 4, Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier, who also won in 2008, is named on the class 9 entry, as is class 11 is Belgium’s Florian Van Acker.

Exactly the same

A strong men’s entry of Rio 2016 gold medallists in action in Stadskanaal, it is exactly the same in the women’s singles events.

China heads the list. Liu Jing plays in class 2, Xue Juan in class 3 and Zhang Bian in class 5 as well as Mao Jingdian in class 8. Additionally, the host nation’s Kelly Van Zon, also gold medallist n London, competes in class 6-7.

Undoubtedly eyes will focus on Kelly Van Zon but if there is one star name it is Poland’s Natalia Partyka; present in Chengdu at the recent Uncle Pop 2019 Women’s World Cup, she has won every major event on the para scene since securing the world title in 2002. Notably at the Paralympic Games she won for the first time in 2004 in Athens and has succeeded ever since that date.

Notable names

Celebrated names. Also in the women’s singles events, Italy’s Giadi Rossi, the recently crowned European champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist competes in class 2, as in class 3 does Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlqhuist, the London 2012 gold medallist and Rio 2016 bronze medal winner.

Similarly, China’s Zhou Jing, gold medallist in London is on duty in class 4, as in class 9 is colleague, Xiong Guiyan. Both Zhou Jing and Xiong Guiyan are reigning Asian champions.

Major challengers

Strong challengers for honours, in the men’s singles events it is the same. Great Britain’s Tom Matthews, bronze medallist at the 2018 Para World Championships, is named on the entry list for class 1; a situation that applies also in class 2 for Frenchman Stéphane Molliens, bronze medallists earlier this year in class 2.

“Training has been going very well since the Europeans. I’ve seemed to find good form and I’m feeling a lot stronger. I was disappointed with the Europeans but it gave me that extra boost to come back and work even harder than before; this week I’m just hoping to improve my consistency and the way I’ve been training the last few weeks has given me the confidence that I’ll achieve that. The tournament is important for qualification but it’s just another step on the road to Tokyo; I’m in a qualification spot at the moment but it’s more about securing that spot.” Tom Matthews

Meanwhile, in class 7, China’s Yan Shuo, the current Asian champion, is on duty; as in class 8, is Great Britain’s Ross Wilson, the reigning world champion and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

Celebrated names and more can be added. Italy’s Mohamed Amine Kalem, bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro appears in class 9; likewise in class 10 Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski will be in action, silver in Rio de Janeiro but gold in four years earlier in London.

In Stadskanaal the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallists may not be anointed but they may well be announced.

2019 Dutch Para Open: Live Stream

2019 Dutch Para Open: Live Scoring

2019 Dutch Para Open: Latest Results

2019 Dutch Para Open: Draws and Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2019 Dutch Para Open kelly van Zon

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