New to the calendar and most certainly a boost for the Middle East, the inaugural ITTF Saudi Para Open 2023 commences on Tuesday 8th August.
Staged in Riyadh, a factor 20 tournament for World ranking, one country in the region has certainly seized the opportunity, the Egyptian party comprises a total of 22 players, notable names being present.
Abdelrahman Abdelwahab, Sameh Eid and Sayed Youssef all appear on the men’s singles entry list as does the irrepressible Ibrahim Hamadtou, the player who attracts attention wherever he competes, holding the racket in his mouth and serving by propelling the ball from his toes.
Likewise in the counterpart women’s singles both Hanna Hammad and Faiza Mahmoud will be on duty.
All have most worthy records in the region’s continental championships, a tournament originally known as the Africa/Middle East Championships prior to 2007 when it became the Africa Championships.
Top of the list is Sameh Eid (class 4), since 1999 he has won no less than 12 men’s singles titles; for both Abdelrahman Abdelwahab (class 10) and Sayed Youssef (class 7), commencing in 2005, it is six each in number.
Titles abundant, for Ibrahim Hamadtou (class 6) the list is rather different but considering his disability quite remarkable; in both 2013 and 2015 he was a silver medallist.
Meanwhile, Hanna Hammad (class 6) claimed women’s singles gold in 2013 and 2019, Faiza Mahmoud (class 4) in 2007.
A strong entry from Egypt, it is the same from Slovakia; Jan Riapos and Boris Travincek compete in the men’s singles, Alena Kanova in the women’s singles.
Gold medallist at the Sydney 2000 and London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jan Riapos (class 2) is the voice of experience; it is the same for Alena Kanova (class 3), like her colleague, she won in Sydney.
Somewhat different for Boris Travnicek (class 4), only 22 years old, he is a player from a more recent generation but already he has made his mark. He was a men’s singles bronze medallist at the 2018 World Para Championships, earlier this year he won in Montenegro.
Play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events.
Overall, a total of 75 men and 41 women compete in Riyadh.