A full complement of eleven men’s singles events at the ITTF Czech Para Open 2023, play concluding in Ostrava on Saturday 24th June, of the favourites for gold, only Turkey’s Ali Ozturk (class 5) alongside Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski (class 10) and Maciej Makajew (class 11) justified their top seeded status.
Conversely, in the women’s singles, the only surprise winner was Japan’s Nanako Hazeyama (class 11); she secured the title at the final expense of colleague Natsuki Wadi (11-8, 12-10, 11-6), the semi-final victor in opposition to Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina, the top seed (8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-3).
Gold for Nanako Hazeyama was a major surprise, she was not seeded; in the men’s singles it was the same situation for Great Britain’s Tom Matthews (class 1) and Spain’s Daniel Rodriguez (class 2).
At the final hurdle Tom Matthews (class 1) beat compatriot Rob Davies, the no.3 seed (11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7), the player who at the semi-final stage had halted the progress of Korea Republic’s Park Jungsoo, the top seed (11-3, 11-8, 11-7).
Wins against notable names; en route to gold, Daniel Rodriguez accounted for the most notable on duty. In the group stage he beat Slovakia’s Martin Ludrovsky, the top seed (11-7, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9), before in the final overcoming the host nation’s Jiri Suchanek, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-0, 11-7).
Victory against the odds, in the remaining men’s singles events that witnessed unexpected winners, the names of the eventual champions were less of a surprise.
Each occupying the no.4 seeded position, Indonesia’s Adyos Aston (class 4) and Italy’s Raimondo Alecci (class 6) raised eyebrows.
Adyos Aston beat Turkey’s Nesim Turan, the no.2 seed (8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) to arrest the title; Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk, the leading name on duty, having experienced a quarter-final defeat when facing the Czech Republic’s Filip Nachazel, the no.3 seed (12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9). One round later Filip Nachazel was beaten by Adyos Astan (11-6, 8-11, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9).
The title secured at the hands of the no.2 seed; it was the same for Raimondo Alecci. After recording a penultimate round success against Poland’s Piotr Manturz (11-6, 13-11, 11-2), the quarter-final winner when facing Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak, the top seed (14-12, 11-5, 11-2), Raimondo Alecci beat Romania’s Bobi Simion (14-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9) to claim the top prize.
Good form from players who commenced play in the fourth seeded spot, it was the same from Great Britain’s Ross Wilson (class 8) and Ukraine’s Ivan Mai (class 9), each listed on place higher.
Ross Wilson recorded a penultimate round win against Viktor Didukh, the top seed and like Ivan Mai from Ukraine (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9); in the opposite scenario, in the same round Ivan Mai defeated Joshua Stacey, the top seed and like Ross Wilson from Great Britain (5-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 14-12).
Later Ross Wilson secured the title at the hands of Belgium’s Mark Ledoux, the no.5 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-7); Ivan Mai overcame Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi, the no.2 seed (2-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-3).
Surprises but not overwhelming, it was similar for Korea Republic’s Jang Yeongjin (class 3), the no.2 seed, he secured gold at the final expense of Ukraine’s Vasyl Petruniv (11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5), the victor over Frenchman, Florien Merrien, the top seed, one round earlier (11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles events, the leading names stamped their authority on proceedings.
In the wheelchair categories it was first place as anticipated for Evanthia Bournia of Greece (class 1-2), as it was for Croatia’s Andela Muzinic Vincetic (class 3), Turkey’s Irem Oluk (class 4) and Korea Republic’s Jung Younga (class 5).
Similarly, in the standing competitions gold finished in the hands of Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko (class 6), Thu Kamkasomphu of France (class 8), as well in the grasps of Turkey’s Kubra Korkut (class 7) and Merve Demir (class 9-10).
Succes and for Maryna Lytovchenko and Thu Kamkasomphu alongside Irem Oluk and Jung Younga; there was more.
Women’s doubles titles were claimed by Jung Younga, partnering Flora Vauthier of France (class 20), and by Thu Kamkasomphu in harness with Sweden’s Anja Handen (class 10).
Likewise, in the mixed doubles, Maryna Lytovchenko triumphed with Viktor Didukh (class 14), Irem Oluk enjoyed success alongside Ali Ozturk (class 10).
Two titles for Ali Ozturk, it was the same for Abdullah Ozturk and Jang Yeongjin.
Partnering colleagues, Abdullah Ozturk won men’s doubles gold with Nesim Turam (class 8), and mixed doubles in liaison with Nergiz Altintas (class 7). Jang Yeongjin added to his men’s singles success by emerging victorious in the men’s doubles alongside Kim Hakjin (class 4).
Notable success for Turkey; in the men’s doubles, there was also success for Great Britain. Paul Karabardak and Billy Shilton (class 14) joined forces to clinch gold, as did Ashley Facey alongside Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi (class 18).
A worthwhile journey for Koyo Iwabuchi, it was the same in the mixed doubles for teammates Tomoyo Yoshida and Natsuki Wada, the top prize, the result (class 22).
Similarly, in the mixed doubles there was success for Croatia in the guise of Borna Zohil and Mirjana Lucic (class 17) and in the women’s doubles for Poland. Gold was the colour for Katarzyna Marszal and Magdalena Sutkowska Pawlasek (class 14).
Visitors in form; the host nation was not to be left out; Denisa Mazurova partnered Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina to women’s gold (class 22).
Play concluded in Ostrava, attention now turns to Texas, to Fort Worth. The three-day ITTF Fa20 US Para Open 2023 commences on Monday 3rd July.