29 Feb 2024

Defining month for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games

The ITTF Astana Para Open 2024, the first ever such tournament organised in Kazakhstan, ignites one of the most tension packed months ever known on the Para tournament calendar.

Play in the three-day event commences on Friday 1st March.

Likewise, possessing factor 20 weighting for ranking purposes, well established events follow in Italy, Spain and Poland, precious titles on offer but the overriding factor is a place in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Overall, 56 men and 51 women have already qualified following success in 2023 at Continental Championships and the Virtus Global Games; on Monday 1st April a further 71 men and 24 women will qualify by virtue of their World ranking.

The number may appear high at first glance, but it is quite the opposite; in Paris the men’s singles comprises 11 events, the women’s singles 10 events (class 1 and class 2 are combined).

Notably in the men’s singles, bronze medallists at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Korea Republic’s Nam Kiwon and Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki will be on duty.

Successful one month ago in Brazil Nam Kiwon, the reigning World champion, appears in Class 1; Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki in class 7, the latter an event that also witnesses former Paralympic Games gold medallists on duty.

Great Britain’s Will Bayley, the winner of the recent ITTF Male Para Player of the Year award and successful in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro competes, as does Frenchman, Stéphane Messi, successful earlier this year in Brazil and at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

Likewise, former Paralympic Games gold medallists, Slovakia’s Jan Riapos, who won men’s singles class 2 in Athens and later in 2012 in London, plies his skills as does Norway’s Tommy Urhaug in class 5, also successful in London.

Both have made promising starts to the year, in January Jan Riapos was a silver medallist in the United States, Tommy Urhaug a bronze medallist in Egypt.

Meanwhile, also winners in Brazil, Chile’s Luis Bustamente and Ignacio Torres, class 6 and class 7 respectively, will be present.

Notable names but perhaps the most significant of all is the return of Russian players to the fold.

Following a decision by the International Paralympic Committee in September 2023 it was agreed they could compete in Paris as neutral athletes.

Bronze medallist in men’s singles class 9 in Tokyo, Iuri Nozdrunov will be present in Astana, as will female colleagues Maliek Alieva, Raisa Chebanika, Victoriya Safanova and Elena Prokofeva.

In Tokyo, Elena Prokofeva, won class 11 gold; Maliek Alieva was a silver medallist in class 6, Victoriya Safanova in class 7. Also in class 6, Raisa Chebanika secured bronze.

Prominent Russian names seeking their first titles of the year, conversely for Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton, a class 4 athlete, she seeks three in a row. In January she won in the United States, in February in Brazil.

A most impressive entry from foreign shores, for the host nation medal hopes rely very much on the shoulders of Ali Makhulbekov and Talgat Erekeyev.

In 2023, Ali Makhulbekov was a men’s singles class 8 silver medalist in Saudi Arabia, Talgat Erekeyev a bronze medal winner in Egypt.

A total of 89 men and 48 women, representing 18 member associations, compete in Astana, the men’s and women’s singles events commence proceedings.

General News ITTF Fa20 Astana Para Open 2024 Para Table Tennis

No results found.