The upcoming Global Games 2023 (GG2023) in Vichy is not only a prestigious event for all Virtus table tennis athletes but will also serve as a gateway to the next 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris for II1 athletes. With the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) announcing that the top male and female II1 champions will secure their spots for the upcoming Paralympics, the stakes have never been higher. Sixty-six elite II1 players from twenty countries are ready to unleash their skills and claim victory in Vichy, creating an atmosphere of intense competition and excitement. Let’s delve into the journey of the top five exceptional athletes who are vying for a chance to shine in Paris 2024.
1. Lucas Creange: The Powerhouse from France
Topping the list is Lucas Creange, the current ITTF World No. 2 in table tennis. With an impressive track record, Lucas has secured numerous accolades, including a bronze medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. His prowess extends beyond that, with two bronze medals at the 2019 Global Games and a gold medal in the II1 Men’s singles at the 2022 Virtus Table Tennis European Championship. As GG2023 takes place in his home country, Lucas aims to reign supreme and add another triumph to his remarkable career.
2. Peter Palos: The Hungarian Hero
Peter Palos, the Hungarian sensation, has solidified his status as a force to be reckoned with in the world of table tennis. As a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and the current ITTF World No. 3, Peter’s tenacity and skill have taken him to incredible heights. With a remarkable victory against Sam Von Einem in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Peter is determined to make his mark once again at GG2023. The GG2019 champion’s relentless pursuit of excellence is an inspiration to athletes around the globe.
3. Kim Gi Tae: A Triple Threat
Kim Gi Tae’s meteoric rise in the world of table tennis has been nothing short of extraordinary. Claiming three gold medals in men’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at the Andalucía 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships, he became the most successful player of the event. Currently ranked as the ITTF World No. 4, Kim Gi Tae is set to captivate audiences with his formidable skills and unwavering determination at GG2023. Expect nothing short of greatness from this exceptional athlete.
4. Takashi Takemori: Unleashing the Tremors
Hailing from Japan, Takashi Takemori is another fierce player on the table tennis court. The GG2019 silver medallist known for his deadly smashes is currently ranked as the ITTF World No. 5. His thunderous shots and strategic gameplay make him a formidable opponent for anyone who faces him. As he prepares to unleash his arsenal of skills at GG2023, all eyes will be on Takashi as he aims to climb higher in the rankings and etch his name in table tennis history.
5. Sam Von Einem: The Unyielding Australian
Sam Von Einem, the Australian table tennis star, has etched his name in the annals of Virtus and Paralympic games. With two silver medals from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Sam has showcased his unwavering resilience and skill on numerous occasions. Although currently ranked sixth on the ITTF list, Sam’s determination knows no bounds as he seeks to make a resounding comeback at GG2023. Expect an intense battle when Sam takes to the table, as he leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of victory
With a total of 86 players participating across all three Virtus categories, II1, II2 and II3, the competition will be fierce, and every match will be a testament to the sheer dedication and passion of these athletes.