Everything in ready for SPINT 2018 in Celje and Laško. The 2018 World Para Table Tennis Championship was officially opened yesterday in Laško, while the competitions start today in Celje. Slovenian representatives Luka Trtnik, Barabara Meglič and Primož Kancler got difficult opponents in yesterday’s draw.
12 competition tables
SPINT 2018 in Celje and Laško is the biggest para sports event in Slovenia this year. Between 17-20 October Celje will host the world para table tennis championship, while trainings will be centred in Laško.
12 competition tables have already been set in the Zlatorog venue, as has everything needed to make the site accessible for wheelchair users.
Among the tough competition of more than 320 world’s best players, the Slovenian trio Barbara Meglič, Luka Trtnik and Primož Kancler will also play thanks to special invitations, which is why they expectations are slightly lower compared to other players who managed to qualify. The draw was made yesterday and the Slovenian team regards it as difficult for them as they will be playing against very strong opponents.
Trtnik will take on Pavo Jozić from Croatia, the Spaniard Jordi Morales and Jean-Paul Montanuse from the Netherlands in his competition class SM7, while Kancler will play against the Ukrainian Vasili Petruniv, Chinese Xiang Zhai and American Jenson van Emburgh in class SM3 and Meglič against Irem Oluk from Turkey, the Serbian Nada Matic and Xiaodan Gu from China in SM4. The best two players from each group will proceed to the knock-out stage.
“Today it all begins. I am getting a bit nervous, although we have already seen the venue, which is amazing. We hope to have many fans supporting us. The venue in Celje is new for all of us and also the same for all of us. Nobody has ever played there before, but the world championship is a big event, so everything has to be taken care of. We are looking forward to finally getting the chance to show what we’re capable of,” said Meglič ahead of the competition and admitted having this important competition at home has two sides: “”True, ti it nice playing at home, have your family and friends support you, perhaps even with a poster … but on the other hand, one is more nervous as you try to really show your very best. It is important to find the middle ground, but I would still say it is more of a plus than a minus for us.”
Every win will be a success
“I am not yet nervous, but we will see what happens when the matches start. We had good preparations, including in Zagreb with the Croatian team. The best 20 players in the world in each class are here, so every win will be a great success. We know, who is here, we all know each other and my opponents are really good. I will try to play my game and I hope to surprise someone. That’s my goal,” contemplates Kancler.
“This is the biggest competition I have every participated in. but I feel great and ready to start. We had some smaller competitions to prepare, I practiced with my club, as usual. Of course, if could always be even better, nevertheless, I am content,” Trtnik said on his shape for SPINT 2018. “I have been thinking about this championship for months now and have been preparing for it like for no other tournament before. I really tried to give it my best at trainings, but we will see what happens at the match today. I’m hoping for good atmosphere, for many loud fans,” concludes the young Slovenian player.
The event is held by Sports Association for the Disabled of Slovenia – NPC Slovenia and Slovenian Table Tennis Association. Free admission aims to attract as many sports fans as possible until Saturday, especially the disabled, who will have the chance to see active participation in sports at the highest professional level.