Players in form, those who have qualified for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, are very much in evidence at the forthcoming ITTF SQY French Para Open, a factor 40 tournament for world ranking points, play commences in the four-day event on Thursday 9th November.
A plethora of elite names on duty in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Germany’s Valentin Baus (class 5) and Belgium’s Laurens Devos (class 9) very much stand out.
Both gold medallists at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and at the Andalucia 2023 World Championships each, added to their list of titles just over one month ago at the ITTF European Para Championships in Sheffield.
Similarly, in the men’s singles event, winners in Tokyo, China’s Feng Panfeng (class 3) and Zhao Shuai (class 8), enjoyed success in late September at the ITTF Asian Para Championships on home soil in Hangzhou.
They represent a very strong Chinese entry, likewise, winners in Hangzhou, their colleagues Liu Fu (class 5), Zhao Yiqing (class 9) and Lian Hao (class 10) compete in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
Also, in addition to Valentin Baus and Laurens Devos, victorious in Sheffield, the names of Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger (class 3) and Italy’s Matteo Parenzan (class 6) appear on the entry list.
Notably Thomas Schmidberger and Valentin Baus will not only be aiming to maintain recent form but also that of one year ago; they are defending champions.
Furthermore, Egyptian gold medallists in September in Giza at the ITTF African Para Championships ply their skills in the French new town.
In the men’s singles Khaled Ramadan (class 3) and Sayed Youssef (class 7) compete; in the women’s singles Ola Soliman (class 1), Fawzia El-Shamy (class 3) and Hagar El-Sayed (class 8) will be present.
Likewise, in the women’s singles Italy’s Giada Rossi (class 2) and Croatia’s Andela Muzinic-Vincetic (class 3), winners in Sheffield will be present as will Norway’s Aida Dahlen (class 8), the winner one year ago in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
Notably, Andela Muzinic-Vincetic has a special liking for the tournament, she won in 2021.
Additionally, winners in Hangzhou, the Chinese trio comprising Wang Rui (class 7, Wang Wenjuan (class 8) and Mao Jingdian (class 9) aim for gold on French soil.
Equally, alongside Valentin Baus, Aida Dahlen and Thomas Schmidberger; five men and two women defend titles won in 2022.
Frenchman Stéphane Messi (class 7), Thomas Bouvais (class 8) and Lucas Creange (class 11) compete, as does Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier (class 6), alongside Spain Anders Cepas (class 9), a player who this year has been quite a revelation.
Impressively in March he won on home soil in the Costa Brava, before succeeding in Poland, Korea Republic and Thailand.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Turkey’s Nesliham Kavas (class 9) defends her title, a situation that applies also to Nozomi Nakumara (class 10).
Play commences with the men’s singles and women’s singles events followed by men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.