05 Nov 2022

A sense of anticipation pervades in the Palacio Municipal de Deportes de Granada

Mouth-watering confrontations abundant; that is the scenario following the draw for all 39 events at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships staged in the southern Spanish city of Granada.

Doubles events commence proceedings on Sunday 6th November; awards being made on the third day of action, when the singles competition begins. Matters conclude on Saturday 9th November.

Most notably in men’s singles class 1, Korea Republic’s Joo Young Dae could well meet Great Britain’s Tom Matthews at the quarter-final stage with Rob Davies, also from Great Britain, a potential penultimate round adversary.

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Rob Davies beat Joo Young Dae to secure gold; in Tokyo, Joo Young Dae climbed one step higher, Tom Matthews emerged a bronze medallist.

Likewise, in men’s singles class 5, there could be a Paralympic Games reunion. Great Britain’s Jack Hunter-Spivey appears in the same half of the draw as Norway’s Tommy Urhaug, the player he beat in the quarterfinals at Tokyo 2020.

Somewhat differently in men’s singles class 2, a testing second round encounter awaits Korea Republic’s Park Jin Cheol, the no.3 seed, he meets Slovakia’s Jan Riapos, gold medallist at both the Athens 2004 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Intriguing matches on the men’s singles wheelchair schedule, it is the same in the standing categories.

In class 9, Belgium’s Laurens Devos and Australia’s Ma Lin appear in the same half of the draw, Significantly, Laurens Devos struck gold at the two most recent Paralympic Games, Ma Lin in 2012 in London. Furthermore, Laurens Devos is the reigning World Champion, Ma Lin secured the title in 2010 in Gwanju and again in 2014 in Beijing.

Meanwhile, the women’s singles events, in class 2, Italy’s Giada Rossi, the top seed, faces an exacting second round encounter, she opposes the voice of experience, Isabelle Lafaye of France, gold medallist at the Paralympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta and in 2004 in Athens. Additionally, she was crowned World champion in 1990 in Assen.

Isabelle Lafaye is a name to note, as this year have been the names of Alexandra Saint-Pierre from France and Ukraine’s Maryna Litovchenko. Quite simply throughout 2022 they have remained unbeaten.

Both appear in the same half of the draw as noteworthy adversaries from the Korea Republic, Alexandra Saint-Pierre could well oppose Moon Sunghye, the no.2 seed at the semi-final stage; for Maryna Litovchenko it could well be Lee Kinwoo.

Maryna Lytovchenko is the reigning World champion as is Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands in class 7. Similarly, she could well oppose Korea Republic opposition; she in the same half of the draw as Kim Seongok.

Both Kelly van Zon and Maryna Lytovchenko commence matters in the top seeded spots. It is the same for Norway’s Aida Dahlen. Competing in class 8, she is in the same half of the draw as a most familiar opponent, Germany’s Juliane Wolf.

Notably, at the European Para Championships, Aida Dahlen beat Juliane Wolf in the final in 2015 in Vejle and 2017 in Lasko.

However, it is the newly introduced doubles events that commence matters. Several first round meetings catch the eye.

In the men’s doubles in class 14, the host nation’s Jordi Morales and Alvaro Valera meet Sweden’s Emil Andersson and Michal Azulay; in class 18, Great Britain’s Ross Wilson and Josh Stacey oppose Australia’s Ma Lin and Nathan Pellisier.

Similarly, in the women’s doubles class 22, Poland’s Natalia Partyka and Karolina Pek versus Brazil’s Jennyfer Marques and Danielle Rauen is a match to note.

Equally in the mixed doubles, in class 7, Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk and Nergiz Altintsas, in opposition to the French partnership of Fabien Lamirault and Alexandra Saint-Pierre, is as contest to note.

Intense competition awaits.

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