Silver medallist in 2019 in Amman, Bangkok and Ostrava; Thailand’s Panwas Sringam emerged the first player to reserve a place at Tokyo 2020 in Lasko, Slovenia, following success at the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament on Friday 4th June.

Competing in women’s class 5, a group organised event, Sringam, aged 19 and the fourth highest rated player on duty, accounted for Japan’s Kimmie Bessho (12-10, 11-5, 12-10) and Serbia’s Biljana Ubovic (11-3, 11-5, 12-10) to complete her series of matches unbeaten.

An unbeaten record for Panwas Sringam against the odds, it was the same for Finland’s Aino Tapola. The lowest listed in class 1-2, likewise in a group organised competition, she accounted for Israel’s Chagit Brill (11-1, 11-7, 11-4) to maintain her winning ways. One match remaining she needs to win just two games against Germany’s Janina Sommer to secure an unlikely ticket to Tokyo!

Almost there, in class 8 it is a likewise situation; also group-administered, Hungary’s Zsofia Arloy ended the day the only unbeaten player. One more match to play, the top seed faces Russia’s Elena Litvinenko – win just one game and top spot is assured.

Progress as status anticipated, not in women’s class 6 as Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal, the top seed, had to settle for fourth place in her group and thus elimination. Conversely, in the counterpart group it was top spot without alarm for Great Britain’s Fliss Pickard, the no.2 seed.

Likewise in class 10, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Tzu-Yu, the no.2 seed, finished in third place behind Japan’s Nozomi Takeuchi and Germany’s Marlene Reeg. They join Turkey’s Merve Demir, the top seed, and Romania’s Ioana Monica Tepelea in the main draw.

Problems for leading names, but not in class 3. Turkey’s Nergiz Altintas, the no.2 seed, duly topped her group and joins Croatian top seed Helena Dretar in the semi-finals, the latter player having qualified the previous day. Likewise, in class 4, prominent names progressed to the penultimate round including: Jordan’s Faten Elelimat, Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun, Great Britain’s Sue Gilroy, and Turkey’s Irem Oluk.

Meanwhile, in class 7, Norway’s Nora Korneliussen, Hungary’s Dora Molnar and Germany’s Tiziana Oliv joined Argentina’s Giselle Muñoz, the top seed, in the semi-finals, with Muñoz having qualified the previously. Somewhat similarly, in class 9, Ukraine’s Iryna Shynkarova and Brazil’s Jennyfer Marques progressed to the main draw alongside Korea Republic’s Kim Kunhea and Russia’s Olga Komleva-Gorshkaleva, the respective top two seeds.

Assured of semi-final places the previous day, in class 11 Turkey’s Ebru Acer finished ahead of Lea Ferney of France; in the counterpart group it was first place for Russia’s Maria Galkina, and a runners up spot for the Czech Republic’s Denisa Macurova.

Matters conclude in Lasko on Saturday 5th June, only the winners of the respective classes gain Tokyo places.

by Ian Marshall, www.ittf.com