Officially opened some 100 days prior to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, catering for 15 sports, the Brazilian Paralympic Training Centre in São Paulo is the venue for the ITTF Brazilian Para Open 2023, a factor 20 tournament for world ranking.
Play in the three-day event commences on Friday 24th March. Watch it live on YouTube
A splendid venue for a programme that is witnessing continual global growth. In just over four weeks, commencing in the Egyptian city of Giza, then progressing to Spain’s Costa Brava and Lignano in northern Italy; three continents will have hosted international para tournaments.
Most notably all have exceeded the three-figure mark in terms of entries, no less than 130 players are set to descend on São Paulo.
The host nation’s eyes very much focus on Bruna Alexandre. Living in São Caetano do Sul, a short distance from the venue, she is the player in form. Recently, she won the women’s singles class 10 titles on both the Costa Brava and in Lignano.
Consistent performances but she is not the only Brazilian whose name appears on the São Paulo entry list and has experienced success in recent weeks; Israel Stroh emerged the men’s singles class 7 winner on the Costa Brava; only 15 years old, Sophia Kelmer claimed women’s singles class 8 gold in Lignano.
Israel Stroh, Bruna Alexandre and Sophia Kelmer defend their crowns won some five months ago when the Brazilian Para Open was staged in October 2022.The hosts captured seven of the 10 men’s singles titles on offer and claimed a clean sweep of all four women’s singles top prizes.
In the men’s singles standing categories, Luiz Manara (class 8), Gabriel Antunes (class 10) and Thiago Gomes (class 11) aim for repeat success, as in the wheelchair events does Guilherme Marcio da Costa (class 2).
Notably, in the women’s singles, all four winners last year appear on the entry list; alongside Bruna Alexandre and Sophia Kelmer, Catia Oliveira (class 2) and Joyce Oliveira (class 4) will be present once again.
Titles defended, from foreign shores Chile’s Cristian Gonzalez (class 4) and Ignacio Torres (class 6) once again ply their skills attempting to once again secure the top prize.
A strong challenge from Chile, it is the same from neighbouring Argentina. Mauro Depergola (class 5), the 2019 Parapan American Games champion and Elias Romero (class 5), the 2017 Parapan American Championships gold medallist appear on the men’s singles entry list.
Likewise, colleague Maria Garrone (class 2), bronze medallist at the 2022 Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships.
Meanwhile, from further afield there are strong challenges from Asia and Europe. Korea Republic’s Kim Younggun (class 4), gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games appears on the men’s list as does Hong Kong’s Wong Ting Ting (class 11), bronze in Tokyo, in the women’s events.
Prominent names from Asia, it is the same from old continent, France flies the flag for Europe. The names of Emeric Martin (class 4), Esteban Herrault (class 6) and Clément Berthier (class 8) appear on the men’s singles entry list, players who by competing in Brazil will have appeared in every para tournament staged this year.
Impressively in Egypt, Emeric Martin and Esteban Herrault struck men’s singles gold, Clément Berthier was a silver medallist, a finish he achieved Spain, one step higher than in Italy. Worthy adversaries and most certainly Clément Berthier and Esteban Herrault are strong contenders for men’s doubles honours, competing in class 15, in São Paulo they aim for four in a row!
Play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.