10 Mar 2024

Time is running out for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games places

High tension earlier this month in both Astana and Lignano has been the overriding factor; vital world ranking points at stake in order to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the pressure valve will be even higher in Platja d’Aro.

A four-day factor 20 tournament, the ITTF 2024 Costa Brava Spanish Para Open commences on Monday 11th March.

The importance of event, both in gaining vital points and preparing for Paris, is reflected in the high number of players on duty who clinched medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the most notable being Belgium’s Laurens Devos, Frenchman Fabien Lamirault and Australia’s Lei Li Na.

Only 23 years old, Laurens Devos has won the men’s singles class 9 title at the four most recent European Para Championships, the same at the two most recent World Para Championships and Paralympic Games.

More senior, in fact 20 years more senior, competing in men’s singles class 2, Fabien Lamirault was crowned European champion in 2015 and 2019, World champion in 2014, 2018 and 2022, Paralympic Games gold medallist in 2016 and 2020.

Likewise, a voice of experience, Lei Li Na is one of the current century’s most reliable players; dating back to 2001 when she succeeded at the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled; now 36 years old, in women’s singles class 9, she has three women’s singles titles to her name at the World Championships and has claimed gold at the four most recent Paralympic Games.

It is for Laurens Devos his first appearance of the year at a Para international tournament; for Fabien Lamirault and Lei Lina both were present at the just concluded Lignano Masters tournament.

Furthermore, both experienced defeats, Fabien Lamirault witnessed a semi-final loss against Poland’s Rafal Czuper, the player he overcame in the Tokyo final; Lei Lina was beaten by Hungary’s Alexa Szvitacs in the title decider, the Hungarian repeating her win over Lei Li Na at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships.

Consider only those results in Lignano, they underline the reasons why the Costa Brava will be a cauldron of trepidation, triumph and tears, not sea, sun and sand.

Furthermore, in addition, gold medallist in Tokyo, Hungary’s Peter Palos will be on duty as will be silver medallists. Notably, China’s Cao Ningning (class 5), Australia’s Ma Lin (class 9), Frenchman Matteo Boheas (class 10) and Samuel von Einem (class 11) all compete.

Likewise, a host of Tokyo men’s singles bronze medallists appear in the men’s singles listings.

From Korea Republic Nan Kiwon (class 1), Cha Sooyong (class 2) and Kim Youngun (class 4) will be on duty, as will be Jenson van Emburgh from the United States (class 3), France’s Maxime Thomas (class 4), Great Britain’s Jack Hunter-Spivey (class 5), China’s Peng Weinan (class 8) and Belgium’s Florian van Acker (class 11).

Similarly, in the women’s singles, additional to Lei Lina and Alexa Szvitacs, Tokyo medallists appear.

Silver medallists, India Bhavina Patel (class 4) and Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre (class 10) will be in action, as will bronze medallists, Korea Republic’s Lee Migyu (class 3) and Yoon Jiyu (class 3). Also, from Asia Chinese Taipei’s Tian Shau-Wen (class 10) and Japan’s Maki Ito (class 11) will be present.

Meanwhile, from Europe and Tokyo bronze medallists, the names of Germany’s Stephanie Grebe (class 6) and Norway’s Aida Dahlen (class 7) appear on the entry list.

Title contenders, as are those competing on the Costa Brava who won in Lignano.

Additional to Rafal Czuper, in the men’s singles the names of Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih, Ukraine’s Lev Kats (class 9) and Montenegro’s Luka Bakic (class 10) appeart.

Similarly, as well as Alexa Svitacs, women’s singles winners in Lignano, Italy’s Giada Rossi (class 2), India’s Sonalben Patel (class 3) and Caroline Tabib (class 5), ply their skills. They will be present alongside Japan’s Yuri Tomono (class 8) and Kanami Furukawa (class 11).

Overall, 151 men and 67 women representing 39 member associations compete on the Costa Brava, the men’s singles and women’s singles events commence proceedings.

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