Gold medallist one year ago when winning men’s singles class 2-3, the host nation’s Abu Jame seeks repeat success at the forthcoming ITTF Al-Watani Para Championships 2023; achieve the feat and he will add to his country’s celebrations.
Staged in Amman, on the day the tournament starts, Thursday 1st June, it is a national holiday; the wedding of Hussein, the Crown Prince, heir to the Jordanian throne; he marries Rajwa Al Saif.
Togetherness: however, if at the factor 20 tournament for world ranking purposes, there are two players who are very much in unison, it is Jean-Paul Montanus and Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands.
At the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships, the duo clinched the mixed doubles class 14 title; later in class 7, Jean-Paul Montanus was the men’s singles runner up, an outcome that also befell Kelly van Zon.
Both have a whole string of titles, both celebrated names.
Jean-Paul Montanus was crowned European champion in 2015 in Vejle and 2019 in Helsingborg. Kelly van Zon has the full house; three times gold medalist at the Paralympic Games and World Para Championships, four times European champion.
A quite incredible run of success since winning women’s singles class 6-7 at the 2009 European Championships in Genoa. Experience is very much on her side, as it is for three further most celebrated names on duty in the Jordanian capital city, all Paralympic Games gold medallists.
Frenchman, Stéphane Messi, who like Jean-Paul Montanus, competes in men’s singles class 7, won in 2004 in Athens, Slovakia’s Jan Riapos, competing in men’s singles class 4, also prevailed in the Greek city, later regaining the title in 2012 in London.
Similarly, like Jan Riapos from Slovakia, Alena Kanova appears on the women’s entry list; a class 3 athlete, she won gold in 2000 in Sydney.
Players of pedigree and like Abu Jame, players aiming to defend titles.
Iraq’s Muntadher Al-Sarraji competes in men’s singles class 4, colleague Najlah Al-Dayyeni in women’s singles class 6.
Likewise, Egypt’s Sayed Youssef, a class 7 player, once again plies his skills, as does India’s, Pritha Barve, a class 8 player, in the women’s singles.
Worthy names but not players who this year have made an impact; in that respect the names on the Al Watani entry list to note are Korea Republic’s Kim Hakjin and Park Jungsoo. Both class 1, earlier this year, Kim Hakjin won on the Costa Brava, Park Jungsoo in Greece.
A total of 91 men and 37 women representing 20 ITTF member associations compete; play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.