Poland’s Natalia Partyka is the star name, she returns to the country where she gained her first international medal.
In May 1999 when only 10 years old, she won bronze in the women’s singles open event at the Spanish Para Open in Murcia; one year later in Sydney, she became the youngest ever to compete in the table tennis events at a Paralympic Games. The record remains to the present day.
A class 10 athlete she competes in the Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships, play commencing in Granada on Sunday 6th November.
In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, she will complete two decades of competing in the prestigious quadrennial event; she has been ever present since 2002 in Taipei. Only once, in 2006 in Montreux, has she not won the women’s singles class 10 title; on that occasion, she was beaten by China’s Fan Lei at the final hurdle.
However, there was gold, she won the women’s singles open event, her rival in the gold medal contest, Fan Lei.
Equally, the record in the Paralympic Games is stunning, four women’s singles class 10 gold medals commencing in 2004 in Athens; a string of successes that came to an end just over one year ago at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She was beaten at the semi-final stage by Australia’s Yang Qian, the eventual gold medallist, the player she had overcome in the gold medal contest at the two immediate prior Paralympic Games.
Moreover, earlier this year at the Costa Brava Spanish Open, at the final hurdle, Yang Qian repeated the feat; mouth watering, they could well meet again in Granada as Yang Qian seeks to avenge her Beijing 2014 World Para Championships gold medal defeat.
A string of gold medals to the name of Natalia Partyka, it is the same in for Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands; gold medallist at Paralympic Games in 2012 in London, again in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, as well as over one year ago in Tokyo. In class 7, she is aiming for a third consecutive World women’s singles title.
Reigning champion in the sport’s most prestigious Para events, it is the same for Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko; gold medallist in Tokyo, she defends her women’s singles class 6 title.
Adding to the collection, it is a similar scenario for Australia’s Lei Li Nan. Competing in women’s singles class 9, at the Paralympic Games, she won gold in 2008 in Beijing, repeated the feat in 2012 in London, before regaining the crown in just over a year ago Tokyo. In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, it was one step short, she was beaten in the final by China’s Liu Meng.
Worthy names in the women’s singles standing classes, further names can be added. At the 2010 World Para Championships in Gwangju, Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal won gold in class 6, Thu Kampkasomphu of France in class 8. Notably at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Thu Kampkasomphu had also secured the top prize.
Overall 87 players compete in the women’s singles standing classes in Granada of whom 30 have won medals at either World Championships or Paralympic Games.
Competing in Granada
- Paralympic Games – Medallists – Men’s Singles Class 1-5
- Paralympic Games – Medallists – Men’s Singles – Classes 6-11
- Paralympic Games – Medallists – Women’s Singles Class 1-5
- Paralympic Games – Medallists – Women’s Singles Class 6-11
- World Para Championships – Medallists – Men’s Singles Class 1-5
- World Para Championships – Medallists – Men’s Singles Class 6-11
- World Para Championships – Medallists – Women’s Singles Class 1-5
- World Para Championships – Medallists – Women’s Singles Class 6-11