The Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships started in style on Sunday 6 November in the southern Spanish city of Granada.
After an inspiring opening ceremony showcasing the athletes to a flamenco rhythm, seven days of amazing action began. A total of 39 World titles are at stake, in 11 classes for men and women. For the first time ever, titles will be awarded for women in class 1 and mixed doubles, further improving gender equality in Para table tennis.
Until 12 November, 326 players from 51 teams will compete in the world-class Palacio de los Deportes, a record number of participating teams since the first edition of the World Para Championships in 1990. All continental federations are represented.
“The excitement for the event is palpable; the World Para Championships are held every four years, which just adds to the importance of this event for our top athletes. I would like to commend the Royal Spanish Table Tennis Federation and its delivery partners, particularly the Government of Andalusia region and the Municipality of Granada. Our hosts have been outstanding and have prepared an event worthy of its stature. I have personally witnessed the evolution of Para table tennis for a decade. This World Para Championships is the next level and is providing the players with the splendid stage their performances deserve.” –ITTF President Petra Sörling
Para table tennis is being presented at new heights. Centerpiece is the playing hall covered with eight tables, and a 30-meter-long screen that fills one side of the arena. The venue also benefitted from accessibility enhancement for wheelchair users, with ten special toilets, two ramps for the practice area and two ramps for the entrance being installed.
“It has been so many years working in collaboration with our athletes so that today our dream, and yours, has come true. This dream is to participate and organise a World Championships in our country, a World Championships that surely all of you will always remember.”– Miguel Angel Machado, President of the Royal Spanish Table Tennis Federation
The venue is complemented with fully accessible accommodation and transportation services including six low-platform buses. Chagit Brill, a player from Israel, praised the organisers: “Great efforts have been made for the tournament and cooperating with the city. Taxi companies were trained and briefed to accommodate wheelchair users. It is the first time I feel so free in a host city.”
The support for the Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships has been rock-solid, as exemplified by the participation of close to a hundred volunteers. The Mayor of Granada Francisco Cuenca said, “Granada has been a trailblazing city in Spain in the field of Para sports, we are sure that we will witness a great sporting event during the next week.”