The year ahead in table tennis27.01.2017
Four regional Championships and the World Team Championships highlight 2017.
The first championships to take place is the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para Table Tennis (PTT) Oceania Championships 2017 from 13-16 April. Suva, Fiji, will host the third edition of the competition, and Australia’s Samuel von Einem is the latest star to emerge from Rio 2016. The 21-year-old captured silver in the men’s class 11 to highlight his Paralympic debut and put him on the international scene.
The World Team Championships will then follow in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 17-20 May. China is expected to put together strong tandems after coming off Rio 2016 with five team medals, four being gold.
The nation is expected to also bring a strong line-up when they host the Asian Championships from 23-31 August. In the 2015 edition, China topped the medals table with 38, 19 being gold. They dominated the event at Rio 2016, winning 16 singles medals, nine golds. Ge Yang, the reigning Paralympic champion in the men’s class 10, and Mao Jingdian, women’s class 8 Paralympic gold medallist, will especially be tough to beat. The men’s class 6 could be an interesting match-up, with Thailand’s reigning Asian champion Rungroj Thainiyom the favourite but rising Indonesian star Davies Jacob could also ink his name in the books.
The 2015 edition of the European Championships featured the emergence of Belgium’s Laurens Devos, who at 15 years old then became the youngest champion from Vejle, Denmark. But following Paralympic gold in the men’s class 9, Devos will have the spotlight drawn on him when the 2017 European Championships take place 26 September – 5 October in Lasko, Slovenia.
Reigning Paralympic champions Robert Davies from Great Britain (men’s class 1), Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier (men’s class 6), Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic (women’s class 4) and the Netherlands’ Kelly van Zon (women’s class 7) are coming off confidence from Rio 2016.
Thrilling table tennis action returns to the latest Paralympic Games host nation, this time to Sao Paulo for the Americas Championships (13-18 November). Brazil was the only Latin American nation to medal at Rio 2016 (a silver and three bronze medals). Bruna Costa Alexandre (women’s class 10) would perhaps be the most popular name entering these Championships after securing singles bronze then helping her nation take the women’s team classes 6-10 bronze as well.