Sport Week: Ones to watch in table tennis19.06.2016
Here are eight athletes to watch for over the 11 sport classes during September’s Paralympic Games.
Alvaro Valera (ESP)
Valera has been a constant at the top in international stage, holding gold medals from all major competitions.
Anna Carin-Ahlquist (SWE)
Known for her strong tactics and backend, Carin-Ahlquist will try to defend her Paralympic singles title in the women’s class 3. She won her third straight European title last year in Vejle, Denmark. But the Swedish athlete will have to overcome tough competition from China, notably the reigning World Championship Qian Li.
Jing Liu (CHN)
Liu thrives under pressure on the world stage, and that is what makes her dangerous heading into Rio despite her No. 2 world ranking.
Liu is the reigning Paralympic and world champion in the women’s singles class 1-2. But the past few years, she has also gone back and forth with South Korea’s world No. 1 Su Yeon Seo, which sets up an interesting matchup at Rio.
Lin Ma (CHN)
Ma is one of the all-time greatest Para table tennis players in the history of the sport. He started playing when he was just six years old has and does not seem to slow down as he goes for his third straight Paralympic singles title at Rio 2016.
Having won the men’s class 9 singles world title in 2014 and then the Asian title in 2015, Ma remains the No. 1 player in the world in his class.
Natalia Partyka (POL)
One of the most popular names in the sport, Partyka will compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. A three-time Paralympic champion in the women’s singles class 10, Partyka will also go for her first Olympic medal, having also competed in London 2012.
Sandra Paovic (CRO)
Paovic burst onto the Para table tennis scene in 2013 and quickly rose to the top in the women’s class 6. Holding European and World championship gold medals, Paovic is aiming to add her first Paralympic title.
Will Bayley (GBR)
The No. 1 ranked men’s class 7 player will go for his first Paralympic title at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Bayley’s biggest title to date is from the 2014 World Championships, where he won the singles competition.
Young-gun Kim (KOR)
The right-handed South Korean class 4 player will look to defend his Paralympic singles gold medal at Rio 2016. Holding 21 gold medals at major events since 2001, Kim will have to overcome competition from Turkey’s reigning world champion Nesim Turan.
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.