Familiar faces on the international scene, Rungroj Thainiyom and Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri lead the host nation’s hopes at the four-day ITTF Para Thailand Open, play commences in Pattaya on Thursday 24th August.
Most significantly, they are players in form.
At the recently concluded ITTF Korea Para Open in Ulsan, as in Pattaya a factor 40 tournament for World ranking points, Rungroj Thainiyom won men’s singles class 6, Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri prevailed in class 8.
Seeking back-to-back success, they are not alone.
Additionally, in the men’s singles Spain’s Ander Cepas appears on the Pattaya entry list. In Ulsan, he won men’s singles class 8.
Likewise, in the women’s singles Korea Republic’s Yoon Jiyu and Japan’s Nanaka Hazeyama, make the journey, on home soil Yoon Jiyu won class 3, Nanaka Hazeyama prevailed in class 11.
Names to note and there are names to note from foreign shores, China fields a powerful squad, none of whom competed in Ulsan.
Undoubtedly the standout name is Mao Jingdian, the women’s singles class 8 gold medallist at the most recent three Paralympic Games.
Also from China, in the women’s singles, the names of Xue Juan, Zhao Xiaojing and Liu Meng appear on the entry list.
Xue Juan won class 3 gold at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games; competing in class 9, Liu Meng emerged victorious in Rio. Zhao Xiaojing succeeded at the Asian Championships in Beijing in 2017 and two years later in Taichung.
Similarly, China’s men’s entry includes worthy names. Guo Xingyuan gold medallist in men’s team class 4-5 in both Rio and Tokyo travels to Thailand, as does Zhan Dashun, class 5 winner at the 2017 Asian Championships in Beijing.
A strong entry from China, alongside Ander Cepas there are further formidable names from Europe in the men’s singles.
Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk and Ali Ozturk both test their skills; Ali won men’s singles class 5 at the 2018 World Para Championships in Lasko, Abdullah secured gold in class 4 in Rio and Tokyo.
Furthermore, the name of Hungary’s Peter Palos appears on the entry list; he won men’s singles class 11 in 2012 in London, regaining the title nine years later in Tokyo.
European players present, from further afield there is a most competitive entry from Brazil, Bruna Alexander, women’s singles class 10 runner up in Tokyo, very much a name to note.
Overall, 120 men and 82 women compete in Pattaya, the men’s singles and women’s singles event commence proceedings.