22 Nov 2023

Nervous moments await in quest to qualify for the most prized competition of all.

Play concluding in the Chilean capital city of Santiago on Monday 20th November brought to an end the first stage of qualification for the table tennis events at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Overall, 47 men and 32 women reserved places in the French capital city, a schedule that involved continental tournaments being conducted in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Pan America as well at the Virtus Global Games staged in Vichy, France.

Notably, China, winners of eight gold medals in the singles events in Tokyo underlined the fact that they aim to repeat or better that record; at the Asian Para Games held in October in Hangzhou, no less than 10 Chinese players booked their Paris tickets.

Similarly, nine players from Nigeria and five from Egypt reserved their places by emerging successful at the ITTF Africa Para Championships in Giza, a tournament that witnessed a record entry of 95 players.

A record entry in Africa, it was the same at the ITTF Oceania Para Championships in Honiara, Solomon Islands in November, a total of 47 players competed.

Australia proved the most successful, six players gaining Paris places.

However, arguably more significant is that New Zealand’s Matthew Britz and Ioane Hawaii from Tuvalu, a small island hallway between Australia and Hawaii, both qualified for Paris.

Providing National Paralympic Committee approval is gained, it will be the first-time players from New Zealand and Tuvalu have competed in the table tennis events at the Paralympic Games.

Now a total of 201 slots remains to be determined.

The next stage for the men’s singles and women’s singles events is by World ranking applicable on Monday 1st April. The top ranked players, not already qualified gain Paris places. A predetermined quota for each class, a total of 71 men and 24 women will progress.

Likewise, in order to finalise men’s and women’s doubles entries, World ranking concludes the process. Again, there is a predetermined quota for each class; National Paralympic Committees having been required to submit pairings as of Monday 1st January.

A detailed exercise for administrators, very different from Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th May, the World Qualification tournament in Pattaya, Thailand; an event where dreams are realised, hearts are broken.

Ask any player their goal, whatever the achievements in the past, whether World champion or debutant, competing in the Paralympic Games is the ultimate; whatever the conclusion, forever more you are a “Paralympian”, the most precious accolade.

Furthermore, there is no room for error, 11 men and 10 women will gain Paris places; that is one for each class, in the women’s singles class 1 and class 2 combine.

“Pattaya city is very pleased to host the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament. We will deliver this competition with the highest standards and make an impression on the participants.” Maitree Kongruang, Secretary General and Public Relations of the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King

Pattaya will no place for the faint hearted.

A further step completed, the last is the Bipartite System, players selected at the discretion of the International Paralympic Committee and the International Table Tennis Federation.

Similar to the World Qualification tournament, a total of 11 men and 10 women qualify.

Eventually, by Monday 5th August all will be confirmed; in the South Paris Arena, play will commence on Thursday 29th August and conclude on Saturday 7th September.


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