By Ian Marshall – Photo by Grega Valancic / Sportida
It is the outcome following the allocation of the 50 Bipartite places on Thursday 24th June, a system which concludes the entry list, filling the necessary slots required to for the various team competitions, as well as ensuring universality and diversity.
Overall, 37 National Paralympic Committees received such places to complete a total list of 280 players, 174 males and 106 females that will compete in Japan’s capital city.
“All of us have been looking forward to the Paralympics now for a long time and our athletes prepared themselves already for last year. It is of course extremely important for us to provide a professional and fair allocation process to make sure the best players compete in Tokyo. I’m very proud and comfortable with our process and wish all the selected players together with those qualified before good luck in Tokyo!” Petra Sörling, ITTF Executive Committee member responsible for the Para Table Tennis portfolio.
A 10 day schedule, play commences with the individual events on Wednesday 25th August. In the men’s and women’s singles, all 11 classes will be on view, with just the difference of the combination of classes 1-2 in one women’s singles event. The individual events conclude on Monday 30th August.
“We had a very productive meeting, I am very happy that despite all the challenges, great athletes, full of passion from 55 different nations will participate in the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 . I am looking forward to it!” Tina Crotta, ITTF Para Table Tennis Committee Chair and Technical Delegate for Tokyo 2020.
Meanwhile, in the team events which commence on Tuesday 31st August and end on Friday 3rd September, six men’s competitions appear on the schedule. The men’s wheelchair events (class 1-2, class 3, class 4-5) will be staged alongside three for standing players. Notably, there is a change from Rio de Janeiro. In the Brazilian city there were two events (class 6-8, class 9-10). In Tokyo, there will be three (class 6-7, class 8, class 9-10). This shows the good consideration the IPC is giving to Table Tennis at the Paralympic Games.
Also, there is a positive change in the women’s team events. The wheelchair category remains the same (class 1-3, class 4-5) but in the standing as opposed to Rio de Janeiro (class 6-10), two events will be organised (class 6-8, class 9-10) providing more opportunities to shine for the athletes with the more severe impairments.
“The hard work of the Bipartite Commission members ensured a fair and thorough process in determining the invitation slots. We can be proud of the integrity and diversity of our sport, especially being a leader in providing opportunities to extraordinary athletes all around the world. We head into the Tokyo Paralympic Games with anticipation of an exciting, high-quality competition that demonstrates that table tennis is truly a sport for all.” Trevor Hirth, Athletes Commission representative.
Notably, for the first time, there will be no third-place play-off, both losing semi-finalists will receive bronze.
The full list of bipartite slots allocations can be found here.