Para tournaments are stronger than ever; need evidence to support the claim, just consider the month of May.
Three events staged, all with a worthy history, all improving in terms of presentation and organisation. In the best sense of the word, all more professional.
The SQY French Open started the month followed by the Slovenia Open, next on the list was Jordan, the Al-Watani Championships.
Understandably, it a fact that delights Pablo Perez, ITTF Head of Para Table Tennis.
“It’s awesome to be back with a 2022 calendar that includes more than 20 events. Doubles and mixed doubles are giving us very exciting and tight matches with some surprising results. According to initial figures, players with less competition opportunities in the past, women in general and class 11 athletes are the most benefitted. We are still monitoring the data but first impressions are positive.” Pablo Perez
In all three tournaments, the numbers were most impressive; for the referees on duty, it was a demanding task.
ITTF Fa40 SQY French Para Open
- Saint Quentin en Yvelines / Thu 5th – Sun 8th May
- Players: 245 (176 men, 69 women)
- Countries represented: 33
- Continents: 5
- Events: 37
ITTF Fa40 Slovenia Para Open
- Lasko / Wed 11th – Sat 14th May
- Players: 327 (227 men, 100 women)
- Countries represented: 39
- Continents: 4
- Events: 38
ITTF Fa20 Al-Watani Championships
- Amman / Thu 19th – Sat 21st May
- Players: 95 (68 men, 27 women)
- Countries represented: 16
- Continents: 4
- Events: 25
One most celebrated names on duty was Norway’s Tommy Urhaug. Competing in men’s singles class 5, he was the runner up in France and then again in Slovenia, an achievement with a special meeting.
The success in Lasko meant he collected his 200th medal in open international para tournaments!
Now 41 years old, his first international appearance being in March 1999 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria; few can match his experience. He was praiseworthy but equally clear that there is no room for complacency.
Understandably, the number of entrants was lower in Jordan, the Al-Watani Championships having a lower rating, factor 20, for World ranking purposes as opposed to both France and Slovenia being factor 40.
However, the tournament did have a claim to fame; a women’s singles class 1 event was staged; an event which basically owing to lack of numbers does not appear in the Paralympic Games or World Para Championships. In those competitions class 1 and class 2 combine.
In fact, there are only eight previous occasions on record when a class 1 women’s singles event has been staged.
Now we look forward to June, Podgorica, Cancun and Ostrava the destinations.