There is a European invasion coming to the United States beginning on Thursday as the United States Para Open Table Tennis Championships get under way in Las Vegas. The premier Para Table Tennis tournament in the United States gets under way on Wednesday and runs through Christmas with a phenomenally strong field.
The star of the Europeans making the trip to Las Vegas is Dutch player Kelly van Zon who has won every major title available. Van Zon is the defending World, European and Paralympic Champion and comes to America seeking a new title to add to her full trophy cabinet.
On the men’s side, there is German Thomas Schmeider a silver medalist in Rio in the Class 3 singles is also attending the event. Two men in class eight will come from Sweden Emil Andersson and Linus Karlsson big contenders for the title in Vegas.
Among the other Europeans making the trip to Vegas are two women, in Class 7 Stephane Messi of France. Joining her will be Aida Dahlen, the European Champion from 2015 in Class 8 to challenge for the title.
One of the strongest competitors for the United States is Tal Liebovits who will be in Class 9 but it’s going to be a tough tournament. The 2016 US Para Open Championships may well be the biggest para table tennis tournament in the United States.
There will be 120 men and 25 women in the US Para Open Championships over in Vegas representing 30 different national associations. Those national associations come from all over the world, with Australasia and Africa the only continents not represented.