164 games of singles took place on a marathon first day of action at the ITTF European Para Table Tennis Championships 2023 in Sheffield.
267 players for 35 countries are taking part in the competition which has 22 places at the 2024 Paralympics on offer as the winners of each of the men and women’s singles classes will qualify directly for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
The opening day at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) saw many of the world’s leading players in action. One of the first to play was Germany’s world number one, Thomas Schmidberger, who defeated Dacian Makszin 3:0 in his opening match in the men’s single’s class 3.
Speaking after his victory, Schmidburger said: “The first match is always a little bit difficult to find your own rhythm and get into you own play, but I won three zero, so everything is fine. We are here to be European Champion and I think that is the goal of everybody.
Commenting on the staging of the event at the EIS, he added: “The venue is really perfect and the warm-up situation is perfect so I think it can be a good European Championships.”
Another world number one to compete in the morning session was Maryna Lytovchenko of Ukraine, who defeated Roxana Ciripan of Romania in her first match in the women’s single’s class 6.
Lytovchenko said: “It’s just the first game, only the start. I’m in it to win of course because I have trained a lot so we will see about the result. I am not thinking about my past results. I am here now so I’m thinking about future games so there’s no pressure.”
One of the most exciting matches of the first session came in the men’s class 6 where world number three, Peter Rosenmeier, had to fight-off spirited comeback by Bendikt Muller comeback to secure a 3:2 victory.
Rosenmeieir said: “I am extremely happy. It’s always the opening matches that are always extremely difficult at these championships. I’ve done it a hundred times but it’s still extremely difficult. I was up 2-0 for the first two games and I felt ok but then he came back and in the middle of the fourth [set] and I really felt the tension.
“I managed to let loose of the nervousness and play like I should play. So, I’m extremely happy now and onto the next match.”
An equally busy afternoon session saw the home team’s Rob Davies make a successful start to his campaign for a fifth consecutive European title as he convincingly defeated Alexandru Imbuzan in the men’s class 1.
Explaining the reasons behind his success, the Welshman said: “You have got to have some good serves and it was just really trying to get as many good serves as possible as possible."
All the results from today’s play and the draw for day two can be viewed at https://www.ittf.com/tournament/5484/ITTF-European-Championships-2023/.
The action on day two starts at 09:00 (BST) and will be streamed live on the IITF YouTube channel.
Live scoring and all results can be viewed at https://www.ittf.com/tournament/5484/ITTF-European-Championships-2023/.
The European Para Table Tennis Championships is an ITTF event which is supported by funding from the National Lottery and Sheffield City Council and will be delivered in association with a range of partners including UK Sport, British Para Table Tennis and Table Tennis England (TTE). Event suppliers include: Butterfly, Neon Flooring, 729 – Table Tennis Balls and the Crowne Plaza Hotel Sheffield.