A three-day tournament, play commencing in Platja d’Aro on Thursday 9th March, a total of 154 men and 51 women from 24 member associations descend on Platja d’Aro for the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2023, a factor 20 tournament for world ranking purposes.
Frenchman Fabien Lamirault and Germany’s Valentin Baus head the list, the current owners of the most prestigious accolades on offer. Competing in men’s singles class 2, Fabien Lamirault struck gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and then repeated the feat in Granada at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships; in class 5, Valentin Baus did the same.
Now, for both the goal is to add Costa Brava to the list of accolades. Valentin Baus makes his first appearance in the now well-stablished event, for Fabien Lamirault, life is rather different; it will be his third visit, he was the runner up in both 2020 and 2022.
Climbing one step higher than last year is the avowed goal for Fabien Lamirault; he is not alone!
It is the same for his colleague Morgen Caillaud (class 6). She will be aiming to turn silver to gold.
Likewise, on men’s singles duty, Italy’s Federico Falco (class 1), Ahad Sarand of the United States (class 5) and Andras Cepas (class 9), alongside Frenchman Mateo Boheas (class 10), were all in 2022 silver medallists.
Conversely, in the men’s singles for Italy’s Matteo Parenzan (class 6) and Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands (class 7), the quest is to achieve a title defence and maintain the form of last year.
Additional to success on the Costa Brava, five months ago at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships, Matteo Parenzan won men’s singles class 6; Jean-Paul Montanus, partnering colleague Kelly van Zon, prevailed in mixed doubles class 14.
Holders of major titles on duty, there are more; most notably Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger (class 3), victorious in Granada appears on the entry list as does Korea Republic’s, Joo Youngdae (class 1), gold medallist in Tokyo.
Good form and there are names on the Costa Brava entry list who are undoubtedly in very good form. All from France and successful at the recent Egypt Para Open, Emeric Martin (class 4), Esteban Herrault (class 6) and Thomas Bouvais (class 8) all appear on the men’s singles entry, Lucie Hautière (class 8) on the women’s singles listing.
Also, in the women’s singles, note the Brazilian names of Bruna Alexandre (class 10) and Sophia Kelmer (class 8). At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Bruna Alexandre was a silver medallist. Later at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships both were bronze medallists; significantly, at 14 years of age, Sophia Kelmer was the youngest player on duty.
The men’s singles and women’s singles events commence proceedings.