Paralympic success for table tennis
Officials: Best Paralympic Games ever
Thursday, September 30, 2004
ITTF Press Release
The Table Tennis Competition came to an end at the 12th Paralympic Games in Athens and every player, coach and official agreed that these were the best Paralympic Games ever in the history of the Games.
Table Tennis is part of the Paralympic Programme since the beginning in 1960. The classification of players by function based on their disabilities, rules, format of play, etc., have been modified and improved over time. Especially in the last 8 years Paralympic Table Tennis has taken a big step forward and increased its development. Right now, with more than 2300 active players on the competition tour it is not easy to highlight just one name. There are many stars in the Games, but if we look at the final medal standings, China appeared in Athens as the new power of the Paralympic Table Tennis. In Sydney, France and Korea took the top positions but this time China won 7 gold’s to get in total 13 medals, with Korea very close (5 gold with 11 medals in total) and Germany getting 4 gold medals. France was the only National Paralympic Committee to get more overall medals than China with 14 medals to its credit.
Counting singles and team competitions, a total of 28 events were played at the Galatsi Stadium in the different sitting (wheelchair) and standing classes, and from them, 21 different National Paralympic Committees from all around the world won medals. This is an excellent distribution and indicates the wide spread popularity of table tennis.
The Paralympic Table Tennis event in the Games attracted the interest of many prestigious personalities like Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Queen Sofia and Princess Elena of Spain, Princess Maertha-Louise of Norway, Crown Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium and Prince Ra'ad Bin Zied of Jordan.
It is important to note that in the Team events, the women’s wheelchair team of Jordan defeated France in the bronze match to win the only medal for Jordan in table tennis and one of the two from Jordan in all the sports. The elation and enthusiasm expressed by the Jordanian Team was heart warming.
ITTF President Adham Sharara attended the competition during the last 2 days and showed his support to the Paralympic movement by taking part in several meetings and lending a hand with the medal presentations. He was very impressed with the level of play and with the dedication of the participating athletes. He was also very satisfied with the presentation of the field of play and with the high level or organisation.
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