An Opening Ceremony in the presence of Emil Bloc, a former Prime Minister of Romania and now the Mayor of Cluj Napoca, signalled the start of the senior events at the Romanian Para International Open Championships (RITTO) on Thursday 23rd June.
He addressed 176 players from the 31 countries who were present, being followed by Sally Lamont, the Technical Delegate and Shazzad Rizvi, President of the Little People Volunteer Association.
True Sporting Fashion
“In true sporting fashion, the mayor demonstrated his table tennis skills by playing against two of the youngest players, Ian Seidenfeld and Jensen Van Emburgh from United States ; it was greeted with great applause by everyone present.”, explained Sally Lamont. “The mayor also promised the RITTO organisers that he would personally make sure that all future RITTO tournaments would take place in the new sports hall.”
Both Ian Seidenfeld and Jensen Van Emburgh had secured medals the previous day in the junior tournament, as had the nation’s Iona Monica Tepelea and Japan’s Nozomi Takeuchi.
They were the respective gold and silver medallists in Women’s Singles Class 6-10.
Monica Tepelea and Japan’s Nozomi Takeuchi
One day later in the senior competition, they were the players to cause the biggest upsets of the day.
Competing in Women’s Singles Class 8-10; Nozomi Takeuchi beat Norway’s Aida Dahlen, the top seed and winner of the Women’s Singles Class 8 title at the 2015 European Para Championships in Vejle (11-8, 11-7, 11-7). Iona Monica Tepelea, accounted for Josephine Medina of the Philippines, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-9, 13-11).
Furthermore, they could meet again. Iona Monica Tepelea and Nozomi Takeuchi remained unbeaten to top their groups; for Aida Dahlen and Josephine Medina it was their one and only defeat, thus they gained second place and alongside their conquerors advanced to the semi-finals.
A defeat for Josephine Medina but she was in a positive mood.
“It is a very good competition but many more players than I expected”, she said. “I am very happy because I have reached the semi-finals.”
Top Seeds Prevail
One upset but not in the remaining events where the top seeds ended the day unbeaten.
In the Women’s Singles events Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva (Class 2) remained unbeaten as did the Slovak Republic’s Ana Kanova (Class 3) and Sweden’s Ingela Lundbäck (Class 4-5).
Likewise, Russia’s Raisa Chebanika (Class 6) and Korea’s Kim Seongok (Class 7) enjoyed a successful day, thus endorsing their top seeded places.
Similarly in the Men’s Singles events it was an unbeaten day for the top seeds with Thailand and Ukraine enjoying notable success.
Anurak Laowong (Class 3) and Wanchai Chaiwut (Class 4) flew the flag for Thailand; for Ukraine Mykhaylo Popov (Class 7) and Viktor Didukh (Class 8) emerged as heroes.
Unbeaten performances, it was the same from Korea’s Nam Kiwon (Class 1), the Slovak Republic’s Ratislav Revucky (Class 2) and Argentina’s Mario Depergola (Class 5).
Success for the top seeds in the Men’s Wheelchair Classes, it was the same in the Standing Classes with the host nation having cause to celebrate.
Bobi Simon remained unbeaten (Class 6), as did Frenchman Cédrik Cabestany (Class 9) and Bulgaria’s Denislav Kodjabashev (Class 10).
Individual Events Conclude
Play in the individual events concludes on Friday 24th June.