03 May 2023

A first appearance of the year for China, a 32 strong party filled with Paralympic Games winners

A mouth-watering entry for the ITTF Montenegro Para Championships 2023 is the order of proceedings for the four-day tournament commencing on Thursday 4th May; factor 20 for world ranking,

One name stands above all other; that of China, a first appearance of the year; overall, 18 men and the same number of women will represent the country that sets the standard for the sport of table tennis.

Not only present in numbers, present in quality; Chinese names that are gaining legendary status compete.

Amongst the female entrants, Liu Jing (class 2) possesses one of the all-time great Paralympic records, commencing in 2008 in Beijing she has struck gold at four Paralympic Games.

Likewise, colleagues Zhang Bian (class 5) and Mao Jingdian (class 8) have three in a row starting in 2012 in London. The number is the same for Zhou Ying, she prevailed in 2008, 2012 and 2020.

Meanwhile, just one less, Xue Juan (class 3) won in 2016 and 2020.

Similarly, for the men, there is no shortage of Chinese names that have succeeded at the very highest level.

Feng Panfeng (class 3) struck gold at the most recent three Paralympic Games; Cao Ningning (class 5) in 2016, Yan Shuo (class 7), in 2020.

High class from Asia, from Europe there are also most worthy names, none more so than from France. Fabien Lamirault (class 2) is very much the talisman; he is the reigning Paralympic Games and World champion.

Furthermore, the name of Alexandra Saint-Pierre (class 5) can be added to the list, relatively unknown before the start of last year, like Fabien Lamirault, she emerged victorious at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships last November.

Notably, also from France, players in form ply their skills; both Florian Merrien (class 3) and Emeric Martin (class 5) compete; both emerged victorious at the recent ITTF Greek Para Open in Argostoli.

Winners in Argostoli and there is one more on the Podgorica entry list, Korea Republic’s Park Jungsoo (class 1).

In-form names on the list, it is no different from the Americas. Earlier this year, Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre (class 10) won on the Costa Brava and on home soil in São Paulo, the latter a tournament in which Latin American players present in Podgorica, enjoyed notable success.

Chile’s Ignacio Torres (class 6) and Israel Stroh (class 7) claimed titles as did the latter’s female Brazilian counterparts, Catia Oliveira (class 2), Joyce Oliveira (class 4), Sophie Kelmer (class 8) and Danielle Rauen (class 9).

Likewise, also on duty in Podgorica, in the men’s singles there was gold in São Paulo for Chile’s Ignacio Torres (class 6) and Manuel Echaveguren (class 10).

Testing times await, none more so than for the five players who defend titles won last year.

In the men’s singles major challenges await Germany’s Thomas Brüchle (class 3), Norway’s Tommy Urhaug (class 5), Belgium’s Marc Ledoux (class 8) and the host nation’s Luka Bakic (class 10); for the women Italy’s Catlotta Ragazzini (class 3) faces a daunting proposition.

The men’s singles and women’s singles commence play.

General News ITTF Fa20 Montenegro Para Open 2023 Para Table Tennis