The biggest tournament on the international para table tennis calendar, the 16th Slovenia Open Thermana Laško, already started this morning. Exactly 427 players from 43 countries (Egypt cancelled their participation yesterday) have entered the competition for the medals and the desperately needed points to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
A look back to the last Paralympic games and their winners shows the real level of the competition in Laško – 16 Paralympic gold winners are participating! This includes the women’s champions Liu Jing ( class 1-2), Xue Juan (3), Borislava Peric Rankovic (4), Zhang Bian (5), Mao Jingdian (8), Liu Meng (9) and Natalia Kosmina (11) as well as the men’s Rio winners: Rob Davies (1), Fabien Lamirault (2), Feng Panfeng (3), Abdullah Ozturk (4), Cao Ningning (5), Peter Rosenmeier (6), Will Bayley (7), Zhao Shuai (8) and Florian Acker (11).
Trtnik in good shape
Slovenia has no seeded players at the tournament. “It is hard to say, what shape I’m in. but I have practiced as for every other tournament before. I think I can expect good matches, but I don’t wish to talk about my goals, I’d prefer to speak at the table. The competition at this tournament is always very strong. You have to be n great shape to even stand a chance,” says the 21-year-old Luka Trtnik, has entered his 5th Slovenia Open. He is joined by the rest of the Slovenian national team members: Andreja Dolinar, Barbara Meglič, Primož Kancler and Bojan Lukežič. The tournament started at 9 this morning with the single’s events, finishing tomorrow, while team’s events will be played on Friday and Saturday. Around 2,200 matches will be played in the four days, and all of them can be followed live on the competition’s web site: (https://sloveniattopen.si/livestream/)