Winners one year ago, no less than eight players defend their titles at the forthcoming Czech Para Open; a factor 20 tournament for World ranking points, the three-day event commences on Thursday 22nd June, the location, as it has always been since the inaugural gathering in 1997, the city of Ostrava.
In the men’s singles wheelchair categories, Ukraine’s Vasyl Petruniv (class 3), the host nation’s Filip Nachazel (class 4) and Sweden’s David Olsson (class 5) aim for repeat success.
Similarly, in the standing competitions, Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh (class 8), Great Britain’s Joshua Stacey (class 9) and Patryk Chojnowski (class 10), once again ply their skills; all players since they succeeded a year ago in Ostrava having secured major titles.
Joshua Stacey was crowned Commonwealth Games champion in Birmingham, both Viktor Didukh and Patryk Chojnowski struck gold at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships. Additionally, earlier this year, Viktor Didukh won in Slovenia, Patryk Chojnowski in Greece.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Finland’s Aino Tapola (class 1) and Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko (class 6) defend their titles; both enjoyed success in Andalucia, for Aino Tapola it was silver, for Maryna Lytovchenko, the colour was gold.
Furthermore, earlier this year in Greece, Maryna Lytovchenko not only struck women’s singles gold; she partnered Viktor Didukh to mixed doubles success.
Titles clinched in the first six months of the year; just as with the defending champions, there is no shortage of names who have enjoyed recent success.
Competing in the men’s singles events, Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk (class 4) won in Slovenia and Poland, Ukraine’s Maksym Nikolenko (class 8) prevailed in Greece, Frenchman Thomas Bouvais (class 8) succeeded in Egypt and on the Costa Brava.
Significantly, Maksym Nikolenko and Thomas Bouvais compete in the same category as Viktor Didukh; a mouthwatering event awaits.
Additionally in the men’s singles, Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi (class 9) and Poland’s Maciej Makajew (class 11) compete in Ostrava; Koyo Iwabuchi won in Montenegro in May, later in the same month, Maciej Makajew prevailed in Slovenia.
An imposing list, it is arguably even more imposing for the women.
Turkey’s Kubra Korkut, the reigning World champion (class 7) and colleague Merve Demir (class 10) both won in Poland; Croatia’s Andela Muzinic Vincetic (class 3) emerged the winner in Italy and Montenegro.
Likewise, from France, competing in the same category in Ostrava, Lucie Hautière (class 8) won in Jordan, Thu Kamkasomphu (class 8) in Greece.
Also in Greece, Poland’s Ewa Cychowska (class 11) secured the top prize; significantly in the final overcoming Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina, gold medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Natalya Kosmina competes in Ostrava.
Most certainly a strong entry from foreign shores but if experience is to be a deciding factor, then look to the hosts; the name of the evergreen 42-year-old Paul Karabec (class 10) appears on the entry list; he won gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Overall, 155 men and 57 women representing 32 member associations compete in Ostrava, play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.