03 Jul 2023

Players at opposite ends of their careers head host nation's hopes

Unstinting loyalty, few can match the dedication to duty over the past quarter of a century than Tal Leibovitz; once again he represents the Stars and Stripes, his name appears on the entry list for the forthcoming ITTF United States Para Open.

A factor 20 tournament for World ranking points, a three-day event, play commences in Fort Worth, Texas on Monday 3rd July.

Born in Queen’s, New York, now 48 years old, he struck gold at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, later commencing in 2003 he did the same at eight Pan American Para Championships, as well as from 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, enjoying the same success at six Pan American Para Games.

Host nation eyes will very much focus on the veteran as they will on two players more than half his age; young men who secured medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Gold was the colour for 21-year-old, Ian Seidenfeld; for Jenson Van Emburgh, 23 years of age, it was silver.

Similarly, in the women’s events, the United States looks to experience; Pamela Fontaine and Tara Profitt are very much names to note, both now in their late fifties, together they won women’s team class 1-2 at the 2009 Pan American Para Championships in Margarita Island, Venezuela.

Noteworthy senior players from the home country on duty, it is the same for those crossing the Atlantic.

Gold medallists at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, 50-year-old Frenchman Stèphane Messi and Slovakia’s 54-year-old Jan Riapos both ply their skills.

Experience is invaluable and so is good form; players who have enjoyed success earlier this year travel to Forth Worth.

In the men’s singles, Great Britain’s Ross Wilson won most recently in the Czech Republic, colleague Will Bayley succeeded in May in Slovenia.

Similarly, in March, Chile’s Manuel Echaveguren claimed gold in Brazil, as did Brazil’s Israel Stroh in Spain.

Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, India’s Bhavina Patel, silver medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, succeeded in February in Egypt, Chile’s Florencia Perez was a silver medallist in Brazil.

A Chilean name to note and there is one more, Tamara Leonelli competes; she won gold at the Lima 2019 Paralympic Games.

The men’s and women’s singles event commence proceedings.

General News ITTF Fa20 US Para Open Para Table Tenns

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