Attractive to tourists seeking sun, sea and sand; from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April, the appeal is rather different, the attraction is the ITTF Greek Para Open 2023, a factor 20 tournament for world rankings purposes.
An entry of 130 players competes in Argostoli, the list impressive not only in terms of numbers, also in terms of quality; most notably reigning world champions ply their skills.
In the men’s singles, Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh (class 8), Belgium’s Laurens Devos (class 9) and Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski (class 10) all take part; likewise, in the women’s singles Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko (class 6) and Thu Kamkasompu (class 8) will be in action.
Furthermore, all six have secured gold medals either in team or individual events at a Paralympic Games.
Notable names and there are more worthy opponents that may be added to the lists. Silver medallists at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships; in the men’s singles Poland’s Rafal Czuper (class 2) and Great Britain’s Joshua Stacey (class 9) will be seeking to climb one step higher, as in the women’s singles so will Natalia Partyka (class 10), like Rafal Czuper from Poland.
Major title contenders, that list is not just restricted to those who excelled some six months again in southern Spain; note the in-form names of Poland’s Piotr Grudzien (class 8) and his female counterpart Romania’s Iona-Monica Tepelea (class 10). Earlier this year Piotr Grudzien struck gold in Lignano, Iona-Monica Tepelea in Egypt.
Meanwhile, aiming to retain titles won when the inaugural tournament was held last year in late September and early October; additional to Josh Stacey, Korea Republic’s Park Sungjoo (class 1) alongside the French pairing of Sylvain Noel (class 3) and Emeric Martin (class 4) aim for repeat men’s singles success.
Similarly, in the women’s singles, Lucy Hautière of France defends her title as does the host nation’s Evanthia Bournia (class 1).
Greek eyes will focus particularly on Evanthia Bournia; in the corresponding men’s events the local spotlight is on Georgios Mouchthis (class 6) and Marios Chatzikyriakos (class 6).
Both seek their first men’s singles titles at an open international tournament, the previous best for Georgios Mouchthis was silver in 2022 in Egypt, for Marios Chatzikyriakos bronze in 2020 in Poland, the same two years later on the Costa Brava and in Egypt.
Play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.