31 Jan 2024

The Brazilian Para Open crucial to Paris 2024 Paralympic Games aspirations

Later in the year, aiming to complete an incredible four in a row in Paris, Kelly Van Zon of the Netherlands is the stand-out name at the forthcoming ITTF Fa40 Brazilian Para Open 2024, a four-day tournament, play commences in São Paulo on Thursday 1st February.

Gold medallist in women’s singles class 7 at the three most recent Paralympic Games, somewhat unexpectedly the now 36-year-old had to settle for runners up spot at the 2023 European Para Championships; thus, her place in the French capital city has yet to confirmed.

Currently, on the January World rankings, in her class she is listed in top spot; it is a position she will need to maintain when the listings, issued on Monday 1st April, determine the names of players who will qualify for Paris by World ranking.

There is just one place available by ranking in women’s singles class 7; the pressure valve is turned to maximum!

Additionally, a similar scenario applies to two players on whom local eyes will focus intently; three years ago in Tokyo, Bruna Alexandre secured silver, Catia Oliveira claimed bronze.

Presently Bruna Alexandre is listed at no.3 in women’s class 10 but is the highest not yet qualified for Paris; next in line is Chinese Taipei’s Tian Shiau-Wen the winner earlier this year in the United States, her name appears on the Brazilian entry list. There are two places available in class 10 by ranking.

No room for error, it is the same for Catia Oliveira, at no.4 on the class 2 rankings, she is the second highest player in the category not yet qualified, the highest being China’s Liu Jing not competing in São Paulo. Just one place is open by ranking.

Seeking to enhance status to gain a Paris place, understandably it is high on the list of French players. In São Paulo they are present in number!

Tokyo bronze medallists Tokyo, Maxime Thomas in class 4, Lucas Creange in class 11, compete in the men’s events as does Mateo Boheas who secured class 10 silver. Notably at the recent Egypt Para Open, both Mateo Boheas and Lucas Creange struck gold.

Also from France, winners in Egypt, Esteban Herrault in class 6, Clèment Berthier in class 8, compete in the men’s singles events in Brazil; a situation that applies to Korea Republic’s Kim Hakjin, in Giza he prevailed in class 1.

Successful in Egypt, also there are players on duty in São Paulo who claimed titles at the first Para tournament of the year in the United States.

In Corpus Christi, in the men’s singles events Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chieh and Chen Po-Yen prevailed in class 5 and class 11 respectively; Great Britain’s Ashley Facey succeeded in class 9, Japan’s Mahiro Funayama in class 10.

Similarly, for Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton, also on duty in Brazil, in the United States she won women’s singles class 1-5.

A total of 157 players (111 men and 19 women) representing 19 associations compete in Brazil, the first time the tournament has carried the prestigious factor 40 weighting for World ranking.

Individual events commence proceedings.

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