13 Dec 2019

A semi-final finish in the mixed doubles event at the Agricultural Bank of China 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the reward; at the other side of the world, success and it is step towards a reservation at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The three day Copa Costa Rica Open commences in San José on Thursday 12th December.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Taking into account that a National Olympic Committee may only enter three players per singles event; on the world ranking lists current on Tuesday 31st March 2020, for those who have not qualified via regional success at continental tournaments, a further 72 men and 28 women gain Tokyo places.

Furthermore, just as on the ITTF World Tour players must meet a quota of appearances in order to compete in the Grand Finals; it is a similar principle for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Notably, with special provision for those who compete in ITTF sanctioned events, such as the ITTF World Tour; in addition to being on duty in their regional continental tournament or a Factor 40 event outside their own continent, European players must compete in four additional tournaments between Tuesday 1st January 2019 and Tuesday 31st March 2020.

Gold medallists

Named on the women’s singles entry list in San José is Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlquist (class 3), gold medallist in London and Kelly Van Zon (class 7), gold medallist in London and Rio de Janeiro; for Anna-Carin Ahlquist it will be her fourth appearance at an open tournament during the period, for Kelly Van Zon her fifth.

Both have qualified for Tokyo via continental success, as in the men’s singles have Brazil’s Luiz Guarnieri (class 8) and Carlos Carbinatti (class 10), alongside Cuba’s Yunier Fernandez (class 1). Somewhat differently for the Americas, the quota is a minimum two appearances during the allotted period.

Most certainly Yunier Fernandez is a player with a goal; last year in San José he finished in runners up spot in class 1-2, Chile’s Luis Bustamente being winner. The Chilean appears on this year’s entry list.

Enhance world ranking

Worthy names from Europe and there are more but not yet qualified for Tokyo, the goal to enhance their world ranking. Arguably the most significant is that of Spain’s José Manuel Ruiz (class 10). At the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, he was a men’s singles silver medallist; in 2010 in Gwangju he succeeded at the World Championships.

Likewise crowned world champion in 2006 in Montreux, Slovakia’s Richard Csejtey (class 8), makes the journey to Central America, as in the women’s singles does Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic (class 10), in addition to Romania’s Gabriela Constantin (class 6) and Ioana-Monica Tepelea (class 10).

All have been in form this year, Mirjana Lucic won in Lignano, Ioana-Monica Tepelea in Buenos Aires; one step below Gabriela Constantin was the runner up in Spain.

Seeking one step higher than last year

In search of gold and there are those in search of one step higher.

Last year in the men’s singles events, in addition to Yunier Fernandez, Venezuela’s Roberto Quijada (class 3), Chile’s Maximiliano Rodriguez (class 4) and the host nation’s Steven Roman (class 8) all finished in runners up spots. Likewise, in the women’s singles, it was silver for Cuba’s Yanelis Silva (class 3).

Local eyes on Steven Roman; they will also be focused on Geovanni Rodriguez; last year he was a men’s singles class 3 bronze medallist.

Overall a total of 54 men and 16 women will compete in San José.

2019 ITTF Para Copa Costa Rica: Group Stage, Main Draw and Latest Results

2020 Paralympic Games: Qualification Guide

2020 Paralympic Games: Tournament Credit System

2020 Paralympic Games: Region Continental Qualifiers

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Copa Costa Rica 2019 Copa Costa Rica kelly van Zon Anna-Carin Ahlquist

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