Play commences, a hive of activity, loud cheering as colleagues support their teammates to the full, the ultimate dream at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships is gold but that is for the precious few.
However, for everyone, including coaches, officials, administrators and all participants, the dream has come true.
Para table tennis is being presented at new heights, a dimension that a decade ago was a dream. The Palacio de Deportes de Granada is a sight to behold and provides a setting which the players richly deserve.
Centerpiece is the playing hall covered with a deep red court mat, eight tables, court surrounds flash sponsors’ logos, players enter the arena to a fanfare, their names emblazoned on a 30-meter-long screen that fills one side of the arena.
Presentation of the highest level but also adjustments specific to Para tournament: the venue was adapted for wheelchair users; with 10 special toilets, two ramps for the practice area and two ramps for the entrance being installed.
Daniel Valero is the man who brought everything together. It is his third major venture; in 2016 in Alicante, he delivered the World Veteran Championships, two years later in the same city, he was at the helm for the European Championships, now it is the World Para Championships.
“I really don’t know why I do it; when I was approached by Miguel Angel Machado, the President of the Spanish Table Tennis Federation, regarding the World Veteran Championships, I agreed on the premise that it must be the biggest and the best.”
“Table tennis is a spectacular sport so we must present the sport in a spectacular way; we need to make the sport attractive to watch, we need to consider big screens not just in the venue but outside so people can see that table tennis is spectacular. We need to put on a show.” Daniel Valero
Most certainly that goal was achieved in Granada.