by Ian Marshall, Editor
A total of 153 men and 75 women representing 52 National Olympic Committees are scheduled to compete. Overall, there are 21 places for Tokyo on offer.
In each class there is just one place available. There are 11 classes for men, one less for women, the reason being class 1 and class 2 are combined.
One notable name present will be Great Britain’s Kim Daybell, a quarter-finalist in men’s singles class 10 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and two years later a silver medallist at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Daybell has spent most of the past 15 months working as a doctor on the NHS frontline fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, his British teammates having been training full time since last August. Daybell has only recently returned to training with the team at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Speaking to Francesca Bullock, the Great Britain Para Table Tennis Team Press Officer, he acknowledged that his preparation has been far from ideal.
“I’m not where I want to be right now so close to a big tournament, I’d like to have more hours of training under my belt, but you can’t change the situation. I’m just pleased to be in a position where I can be there and play after the year that I’ve had; just to be there physically fit and with a chance of doing well is enough for me so I’m looking forward to it. It would mean the world to me to go to Tokyo and would offer some closure after what has been a really difficult year, to have something positive at the end of it.” Kim Daybell
Other members of the British team in Lasko striving for a Tokyo place are:
Women: Sue Gilroy (class 4), Fliss Pickard (class 6).
Men: Jack Hunter Spivey (class 5), Martin Perry (class 6), Billy Shilton (class 8) and Ashley Facey Thompson (class 9).
Class 1 to class 5 events are for wheelchair athletes, class 6 to class 10 for standing athletes. Class 11 is for those with an intellectual difficulty.