Para-table tennis: Five questions for 2016

After the 2015 season, here are some lingering thoughts heading into the Games year. 31 Dec 2015
Sandra Paovic of Croatia

Sandra Paovic of Croatia competes at the ITTF World Championships

By Devon Robertson | For the IPC

1. Who will be crowned Paralympic Champion?

There will be many familiar faces as the top para-table tennis athletes compete for the Rio 2016 Paralympic title.

One athlete to watch will be Croatia’s Sandra Paovic, who will be attending her first Paralympic Games. The 2008 Olympian is a para-table tennis world champion and two-time European champion. Her dominance in class 6 is sure to seen at the table in Rio.

2. Will China continue to dominate?

China has finished first in the medal count at every Paralympic Games since Athens 2004. At London 2012, China claimed 14 gold medals, more than four times as many as second-place Poland. At the 2014 World Championships, Chinese athletes won another 14 world titles, three times more than the second-place Koreans.

3. Can anyone beat Natalia Partyka?

Natalia Partyka dominates the competition in class 10. The 26-year-old from Poland has not lost a match since the 2008 Paralympic Games. Also competing in Olyimpic table tennis, Partyka is currently ranked 65th in the world.

Having secured her spot at the 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the European title, Partyka will be aiming for her fourth Paralympic singles gold.

4. Will Viktor Didukh bring home Ukraine’s first Paralympic Games gold medal in table tennis?

The 28-year-old class 8 athlete will be heading to his first Paralympic Games. Didukh has achieved a lot since his para-table tennis debut in 2013, taking singles gold at both the 2014 World Championships and 2015 European Championships. With a 97 per cent success rate, there is a good chance Didukh will bring home gold.

5. Rematch in the men’s class 6 singles?

Spain’s Alvaro Valera and Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier went back-and-forth during the European Championships. Although Valera took the title from Rosenmeier, the Danish star is expected to come back hungrier.