An unprecedented prize fund is on offer at the four-day ITTF New Taipei Para Open 2023, a factor 20 tournament for World ranking purposes, play commences in New Taipei City on Sunday 16th July.
The organisers advertise a total sum of US$ 1,200 for each event; gold medallists receive US$500, for silver medallists it is US$ 300, for each bronze medallist, US$ 200.
Overall, a total of 165 players, 117 men and 48 women representing 16 ITTF member association are registered for a tournament, no doubt some classes will be combined but the organisers are ready for a full schedule, a total of 39 events; they have a total sum of US$ 46,800 prepared.
Bryan Chung, International Affairs Co-ordinator for the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee, underlined a forward-thinking philosophy.
“We are aware that many sports competitions provide sufficient prize awards to attract players, we believe that para sports can do the same. The important part is that it is more difficult for para-athletes’ training compared to abled bodied sports, we want to provide these prize awards as encouragement. If we have the ability, we will keep doing this.” Bryan Chung
Li Na and Yang Qian make their first appearance of the year on the international stage. All are players who have enjoyed success at the very highest level.
Ma Lin (class 9), additional to winning men’s singles gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, was crowned World champion on three consecutive occasions commencing in 2006 in Montreux.
Impressive, for Lei Li Na (class 9), the career record is even more imposing. She claimed women’s singles gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, before repeating the success four years later in London and again just over two years ago in Tokyo.
Somewhat differently, for Yang Qian (class 10), her list may not be as long but arguably it is the most impressive, she is the reigning Paralympic Games and World champion.
Outstanding records, it is the same in the women’s singles from European players, most notably Kelly van Zon (class 7) from the Netherlands and France’s Alexandra Saint-Pierre (class 5), players with very different histories.
Commencing in Gwangju in 2010, Kelly van Zon emerged victorious at three consecutive World Championships; a feat she equalled at the Paralympic Games when she won in 2021 in Tokyo.
Conversely, for Alexandra Saint-Pierre, it was only just over a year ago when she appeared on the international stage. In March 2022 she won on the Costa Brava, later in the year she repeated the achievement in Lasko, Argostoli and in Granada at the World Para Championships. Earlier this year in March she succeeded in Lignano.
A strong challenge in the women’s events from Europe, it is the same from the men.
Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier (class 6) struck gold at both the Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games; additionally, he was crowned World champion in 2010 and 2018.
Meanwhile, for an opponent he must have played a hundred times, Spain’s Alvaro Valera (class 6), his list goes back to the previous century, he was crowned World champion in 1998 in Paris; two years he prevailed at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Also, from Spain, Jordi Morales (class 7), the 2018 World champion, is named on the entry list, as is colleague Ander Cepas (class 9), a player in form. Earlier this year he won on the Costa Brava and in Wladyslawowo.
Worthy names, it is no different from Asia, in particular Korea Republic presents a formidable bid for honours. Kim Gitae (class 11) emerged the only player to complete a clean sweep of titles at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships but to date has not been able to repeat the form this year.
The Korea Republic player in form on the New Taipei entry list is Kim Youngun (class 4), four months ago he won in São Paulo.
Formidable names from foreign shores, for the hosts a great deal rests in the men’s events on the shoulders of Chen Po-Yen (class 11), for the women’s on the efforts of Lin Tzu-Yu (class 10). Earlier this year in Lignano, Chen Po-Yen secured gold, Lin Tzu-Yu, silver.
Play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.
- ITTF New Taipei Para Open – Entries, Draws, Results
- ITTF New Taipei Para Open – ITTF YouTube Channel