International Events

21 men and women qualify for 2024 Paralympics with victories in European Para Table Tennis Championship

A pulsating fourth day of non-stop action at the ITTF European Para Table Tennis Championships in Sheffield saw 21 players secure the coveted title of European Champion and earn automatic qualification for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

The top performing nation on the day was Poland which finished the day with five gold medals.  Turkey secured three and Italy, Belgium and Ukraine each finished with two golds.

Following the completion of the group competitions and the semi-finals in the morning, the afternoon session of finals was book-ended by two high-class, tense matches.

It began with a see-saw encounter in the women’s class 7 in which Kelly Von ZAN of the Netherlands raced into a two nil lead only see it clawed back by the reigning world champion, Kubra KORKUT of Turkey who turned the match around to win 3-2 and book herself a place at Paris 2024.

KORKUT said: “Before the match, I knew it would be a tough match because Kelly [Van Zon] is a good player. Many years we have played finals together and last night I was thinking ‘every point I will fight my all’ and so to win I am very happy.

“I am very happy.  It’s my second final after the World Championships. We played a second final and I won again. Also, I was losing 2-0 and I came back 3-2. It was a real pleasure and really satisfying game for me. I’m happy and I get a ticket for Paris.”

“After a celebration I will be going to do some tough training. Next year the big games are coming so I want again to be a champion. But it will be very tough next year, so no time to rest.”

The final match of the day featured another world champion, Will BAYLEY of Great Britain, competing in front of a noisy home crowd against the Netherland’s Jon Paul Montanus in the men’s class 7. 

BAYLEY started well to win the first game but a spirited comeback by the Dutchman in the second, levelled-up the match.  BAYLEY fought back strongly to win a tight third game, 12-10, before going on to take the third and secure his first European Championship since 2011.

Speak after his victory, an emotional BAYLEY said: “That was probably up there with one of the toughest matches of my life.  He gave me hell. When he’s on form like that he is pretty unstoppable and there wasn’t a lot I could do to stop him.

“That third set was massive. I felt that he lost a little bit of confidence and he needed to win that but then he came out flying in the next set. He showed me more here than he has shown me in the past, so I need to be up for that.

BAYLEY will now go to Paris next year as the reigning World and European champion with hopes of adding a second Paralympic crown.

The full list of singles winners is:

CLASS

WINNER

 

RUNNER-UP

 

Men’s

1

Endre Major

HUN

Robert Davies

GBR

2

Rafal Czuper

POL

Fabien Lamirault

FRA

3

Thomas Schmidberger

GER

Florian Merrien

FRA

4

Abduallah Ozturk

TUR

Filip Nachazel

CZE

5

Valentin Baus

GER

Jack Hunter-Spivey

GBR

6

Matteo Parenzan

ITA

Peter Rosenmeier

NOR

7

Will Bayley

GBR

Jean-Paul Montanus

NED

8

Viktor Didukh

UKR

Maksyn Nikolenko

UKR

9

Laurens Devos

BEL

Ivan Mai

UKR

10

Patryk Chojnowski

POL

Filiip Radovic

MNE

11

Florian Van Acker

BEL

Peter Palos

HUN

Women’s

1

Dorota Buclaw

POL

Jana Margarette Spegel

GER

2

Giada Rossi

ITA

Ana Prvulovic

SRB

3

Andela Muzinic Vincetic

CRO

Michela Brunelli

ITA

4-5

Borislava Peric-Rankovic

SRB

Alexandra Saint Pierre

FRA

6

Maryna Lytovchenko

UKR

Ktarszyna Marszal

POL

7

Kubra Korkut

TUR

Kelly Van Zon

NED

8

Aida Dahlen

NOR

Grace Williams

GBR

9

Karolina Pek

POL

Alexa Szvitacs

HUN

10

Natalia Partyka

POL

Merve Demir

TUR

11

Ebru Acer

TUR

Lea Ferney

FRA

 

Giada Rossi, ITA - Women’s class 2

“I feel very well because I wanted this title. It is my second European Championship that I’ve won gold and I’m very happy because it’s important to Paris. So now I’m happy and I can work to Paris and relax.

“My start of the game was difficult because I was lost, 8-2 then after I win 11-8 but my mind stays always focused and I win the match.

“Now I relax for today, after I do medal ceremony and tomorrow we play women’s doubles and mixed doubles. I focus on this because me and Micheala Brunelli, we win last year at the world championships so we are ready and we are in to fight another medal.”

Matteo PARENZAN ITA - Men’s class 6

“It [European winner] sounds pretty crazy because in this tournament I beat two players that I’ve never beaten, Bobi Simion in the quarter-finals and now in the final Rosenmeier 3-0. When I was a child, I was an admirer of Valera and Rosenmeier both and I beat both of them 3-0. I think this is just crazy. I worked very hard in those years, last year I won the World Championship so to repeat the result is very difficult. I did it so I’m happy, the happiest guy in this moment.

“The Paralympic games, it sounds crazy. I was thinking about the tournaments we have to do until Paris 2024, now I have the pass and after winning the World Championship, I’m very happy.   Now I have to enjoy with my family, my trainers. This title is something incredible that we believed, but it was very difficult. We will still work again, and workout. We will be ready again.”

Karolina PEK, POL - Women’s class 9

“I feel amazing, it’s my first European title. I lost I think two or three times in the finals so finally I won a gold medal here in Sheffield. I’m very happy, it’s my first gold in ten years so finally I achieve this. I’m happy because England is my second home, my family is here and live here so I’m happy I won at Sheffield.

“I tried not to think about this [silver medals] before the match. During the match my head was very clean so I had no thoughts in my head about the finals before so today I was in good shape mentally and psychically so that was the main goal I wanted.

“My next goal is the Paralympic games in Paris so my goal is to win in Paris then the next year we have every Championships so of course I want to win every tournament. Always my goal is to be first.”

Patryk CHOJNOWSKI, POL - Men’s class 10

“My mental preparation was very good at this tournament so I feel great after this.

“I won 3-0 but it was not easy, every point I have to play really good and hard to win another point so it was a tough match.

“I hope in Paris it’s the same as Tokyo.”

Viktor DIDUKH, UKR, Men’s class 8

“This means a lot to me, with the difficult situation in my country and we must show the world that the people are fighting. For me, I’m now an old player, I’m 36 years, so I don’t know if I’ll have any chance to be in it so I’m happy because I know my children was watching me”

Maryna LYTOVCHENKO, UKR - Women’s class 6

“It’s a really important win for me because I was the World Champion.  I was the Paralympic champion but I have never been a European champion so I am going to celebrate for five minutes because tomorrow I have to play mixed doubles and come back to train.”

Andela MUZINIC VINCETIC, CRO - Women’s class 3

“I am very happy, but first set I was a little but stressed because of my performance. Third set was really perfect, I was hitting the balls better.  It’s not perfect but that’s me. I’m never satisfied about my game. I always want to be perfect.  Now I’m for sure [going to Paris] but I’m second on world ranking. I am very happy for the European win and the next level is Paris.”

Aida DAHLEN NOR, Women’s class 8

“It was nerve-wracking in the beginning. I was so nervous when I started playing. I was prepared for her to be very aggressive, which she was, and then I got sort of scared to play against her opening game. Then I started to talk to my coach and I was like ‘you need to be more decisive in what you do’ and I turned it around and I got very aggressive. I hit one on the table [to win it] and I laughed, it was a fun game to play.

“It’s amazing [to be in Paris next year] because before the tournament I was a little unsure, because you never know about the points and everything. But winning now is amazing, I’m overjoyed actually.”

Florian Van ACKER, BEL – Men’s class 11

“Going into the match, I didn’t think it was easy but this is the guy that I’ve already won many times.  Over the last ten years, I have won against this guy 8 times and I have lost only twice.  It’s great.  I am going to be motivated to play Paris.”

Endre MAJOR, HUN - Men’s Class 1

“I have played this opponent (Robert Davies) many of times and I lost, I managed to do what I wanted and I’m very happy that I managed to do this.”

Natalia PARTYKA, POL - Women’s class 10

“I’m super happy about winning.  The final was tough we have played together a lot of times, so we know each other pretty good. 

“I lost the first set and then the second set I started to play much better and had much better start and receive, I controlled the game after that to the end.  It is always better to win the first set than lose but we just have to keep playing and keep fighting so that was my goal to focus on the next ball.  I tried to not think that it was a final.”

Alexandra PERIC-RANKOVIC, SRB - Women’s class 4

“I feel very happy because I believe in myself when the match started but more importantly, I make my game and I win.  There is always pressure as the new girls want to beat me and progress up the ranking and every match is competitive”. 

Valentin BAUS, GER - Men’s class 5

“It’s an amazing feeling to win.  You’re on top there are players behind you but to beat you they have nothing to lose.  My goal is to defend my title so yeah, I hope for this”.

Laurens DEVOS, BEL – Women’s class 9

“I’m very happy to be able to defend my title as it was four years until the last one.   In this tournament I have enjoyed every game and has been played to a good level. I was tired in the competition, but I think I managed to give my best table tennis and happy I was able to succeed and that I won the tournament now.

“I feel happy about going to the Paralympic games and we will see in Paris how I will do. “

Abdullah OZTURK, TUR – Men’s class 4 

“There were five people in the crowd for me today and they helped me push through.  I am looking forward to doing as good as I did in last paralympic games and regain my title.”

The Championships continue at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield when the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles competition gets underway.

The action starts at 10:00 and will be streamed live on the ITTF Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@ITTFWorld.

All the results from today’s play and the draw for all of the doubles competition can be viewed at https://www.ittf.com/tournament/5484/ITTF-European-Championships-2023/.

 

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