1. First Paralympics, first Paralympic gold for Sandra Paovic?
The 2008 Olympian from Croatia will be heading to her first Paralympic Games. Paovic was ranked top 50 in the world, before her able-bodied career was cut short in 2009 when she was involved in a life threatening car accident.
Since beginning Para table tennis in 2013, Paovic has dominated the women’s class 6. Undefeated since 2014, Paovic is currently ranked No.1 in the world. The 2014 world champion and two-time European champion is only missing a Paralympic title.
2. Brazil at the table
Brazil will be looking to medal on home soil after failing to reach the podium in London 2012. In Beijing 2008, the nation took men’s teams class 3 silver. The 17-strong team will be looking to medal in the singles competition. Bruna Costa Alexandre is ranked No. 3 in the women’s class 10, but she has to get past Poland’s Natalia Partyka for the gold.
Speaking of Paryka…
3. Will Partyka medal in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Partyka has qualified for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At London 2012 she became one of 10 athletes in the world to compete in both Games. In Rio, she will be looking to not only compete again, but medal in both Games.
Partyka has had a number of significant accomplishments throughout her career. In Sydney 2000, she became the youngest athlete to participate in the Paralympic Games at age 11. She continued to medal at the next three consecutive Games. Heading into the Olympic Games, she is currently ranked 73rd in the world. In Para table tennis, she has not lost a match since 2008.
4. Young talent at the table
Belgium’s Laurens Devos is just 15 years old and will be heading to his first Paralympic Games. First competing internationally in 2014, Devos is now one of four Belgians heading to Rio. Ranked second to China’s Lin Ma, the London 2012 Paralympic champion, the 2015 European Champion will be looking to reach the podium for his Paralympic debut.
5. Will China top the medal count again?
China dominates the world in table tennis. They have 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 South Koreans. The 30-strong delegation includes some of the top ranked Para table tennis players in the world.
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)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.